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Youth Jobs

FDA Tobacco Compliance Check Program

The Tobacco Compliance Check Program is funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to protect the health of future generation. Youth, who are hired as a Youth Inspector, will conduct “tobacco compliance checks” to make sure tobacco retailers are following the law and not selling tobacco to minors. A compliance check is an important part of the tobacco prevention process, in working with Youth Inspectors under the age of 18, who attempt to purchase tobacco products to see whether stores are following the law, or “in compliance.”  The Youth Inspectors will be supervised by an adult Compliance Officer during the process. To be eligible, youth need to be either 16 or 17 years old.

About the Youth Inspector job

Youth will be paid $11.00/hour to conduct the tobacco compliance checks after school, on weekends, and during holidays. After completing the mandatory online training and submitting all of the required paperwork, an adult Compliance Officer will contact you. Youth will not need to travel for this position as the adult Compliance Officer will pick you up and drive you to where the checks will occur. Youth will not conduct checks in their same town or neighborhood in order to remain anonymous.

How to apply for the job:

Step 1: Read the FAQ to find out more about the program below.

Step 2: Fill out an application.

Step 3: Wait for an email about how to access the mandatory online training.

Step 4: Complete the online training.

Step 5: Wait for a phone call from your local Compliance Officer to schedule your checks.

FAQ:

Q: How much will I get paid?

A: Your starting wage as a Youth Inspector will be $10.10/hour. Every six months, you will receive an evaluation from the adult Compliance Officer you work with, and if the evaluation is satisfactory, you will receive a $0.50/hour raise.

Q: How do I get around to do compliance checks?

A: You will not need to worry about transportation. The adult Compliance Officer you work with will pick you up at a pre-arranged location, drive you to the stores to do checks, and drop you off when you’re finished.

Q: Is this job safe?

A: Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Your safety is the most important thing to us. During your training, you’ll be briefed on the various safety measures that we all must agree to abide by. However, the general rule of thumb is that if you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation and tell your Compliance Officer (who will always be nearby). If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Q: Do the adult inspectors undergo background checks before working with youth?

A: Yes, the adult inspectors need to have a full background check which includes CORI, FBI and driving record checks.

Q: Can I apply with a friend?

A: Yes! Youth Inspectors always work in pairs, along with an adult Compliance Officer. It’s great when two friends or siblings can go on compliance checks as a team, so please let us know if you have a friend who’s also applying to the program and we will try to make sure the two of you can work together.

Q: What happens if they ask to see my ID?

A: As you’ll learn in the training, we ask that you leave your ID in the car with your personal belongings. An important part of being a Youth Inspector is to always be truthful. By leaving your ID in the car, when the clerk asks for your ID and you tell them you don’t have it, you’re being honest.

Q: What happens if they let me buy the tobacco?

A: You complete the purchase and bring the tobacco product outside to your Compliance Officer, who will ask you questions about the undercover buy and will keep the tobacco product as evidence.

Q: The application says I need to be willing to testify for the next five years. Will I need to go to court?

A: In the rare event that a store fights the charges brought against it, Youth Inspectors may be asked to testify. However, this does NOT mean you will need to go to court and speak in front of a judge and jury! In the rare event that this happens, you will receive a phone call and someone will ask you a few questions about when you completed an undercover buy at that particular store. We will work with you to prepare for this or answer any questions you might have.

Q: How often will I be expected to work?

A: The schedule for this job is very flexible. The number of hours you will be able to work each week will vary depending on your availability, the schedule of your Compliance Officer, and the need for checks in your area. You may not have a regular schedule — each week that you are needed to work, the Compliance Officer in your area will contact you and set up times to complete the necessary checks that week, based on your mutual availability. So don’t worry if you’re busy with exams, sports, or something else – you let us know what works for you and we’ll work together to sort it out!

Q: If I complete the online training, does that mean I have the job?

A: Once you complete the training, you will be entered into the Youth Inspector database and your contact information will be given to the adult Compliance Officer in your area. Although you will technically “have the job,” there is no guarantee that you will be able to work or, if so, how often. Sometimes there may already be several youth inspectors working in your region and you will not be able to do checks right away. However, this does not mean that you will never be able to do checks. As previously stated, this all depends on mutual availability, so the more available you are, the better. So even if you can’t start working right away, keep in mind that you may still have the opportunity in the future. The hard part — the application process — is already over, and you will be able to start working as soon as work becomes available.

Q: Do I need to get a work permit for this job?

A: No, this job does not require a work permit.

Q: Who can I talk to if I have any questions?

A: If you or your parents or guardians have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our team. We are happy to talk to you anytime.

Administrative Coordinator Jenna Carter
Contact Info tobaccoundercover@hria.org

617-279-2240 ext. 373