U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Tobacco Products
  3. Compliance, Enforcement & Training
  4. Retail Sales of Tobacco Products
  5. This is Our Watch
  1. Retail Sales of Tobacco Products

This is Our Watch

Note: On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available, and the information on this page will be updated accordingly in a timely manner.

This Is Our Watch

To give retailers all the tools they need to comply with tobacco regulations, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products has developed an education program called “This is Our Watch.” This program helps tobacco retailers better understand FDA tobacco regulations, the importance of compliance, and the greater purpose—protecting the nation’s youth from the harms of tobacco use. Retailers are encouraged, but not required, to display This Is Our Watch materials in stores. Participation is voluntary.

“This is Our Watch” launched nationally in November 2017. A full toolkit of resources is available to retailers—including posters, stickers, age verification tools, and more—to help retailers better comply with federal tobacco regulations. 


Free Program Materials

“This is Our Watch” program materials include a mix of educational pieces for owners, managers, and clerks, as well as a variety of point-of-purchase tools to inform customers of the law and emphasize the retailer’s role.

  • Poster
  • Register stickers
  • Regulation flyers
  • Age verification calendar
  • Register signage
  • Instruction booklet

How to Use FDA’s Digital Age Verification Calendar

Tools for Retailers

How to Update Your Digital Age Verification Calendar

FDA "This Is Our Watch" Digital Age Verification Calendar (2:46)


FDA Age Calculator

Download the “FDA Age Calculator,” a voluntary smartphone application to help retailers comply with federal, state, and local age restrictions for selling tobacco products. 

IOS App Store Google Play

FDA’s free digital age verification calendar helps retailers quickly determine if a customer is old enough to legally purchase tobacco products. The calendar can be programmed to display the exact date a customer must have been born on or before to legally buy tobacco products. Under federal law, the minimum age of tobacco purchase is 21. To program or change the age verification calendar to determine whether a customer is 21 years of age or older, follow these steps:

  1. Insert batteries. The default date will read 01-01-2019.
  2. Turn the calendar over. On the back panel are five buttons: MODE, SET, 18, 19 (↑), and 21 (↓).
  3. To set or change the current date, press SET for three seconds. Use the and buttons to change the year, month, and day. Press SET to confirm each value. Press MODE to switch to time mode.
  4. To set the current time, press SET for three seconds. Use the ↑ and ↓ buttons to change the hour and minute (based on a 24-hour clock). Press SET to confirm each value. When finished, press MODE to exit.
  5. After correctly setting the date and time, to set the legal purchase age, press 21, and the year will adjust to the most recent date customers must have been born on or before to purchase tobacco products.
    - For example: If today’s date is January 1, 2020, the calendar will display January 1, 1999.
  6. On December 20, 2019, federal law was changed to amend the legal age of purchase for tobacco products, raising the age from 18 to 21. If a calendar was previously set to reflect a different legal age of purchase other than 21, this can be easily changed by pressing SET for three seconds and repeating step 5 above.

Retailers who do not have a This is Our Watch digital age verification calendar may order one  from FDA Center for Tobacco Products Exchange Lab.


Connect with Us

You can find more information by connecting with us on Twitter and by signing up for email updates.