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October 08, 2008
Attorney General McKenna announces agreement to curb tobacco sales to minors

Shell agrees to adopt procedures at nearly 600 Washington stations

OLYMPIA -- Attorney General McKenna today announced a new effort to help extinguish minors’ access to cigarettes.

Thanks to an agreement between McKenna, 46 other attorneys general, Shell Oil Products US and its joint venture Motiva Enterprises LLC, new procedures will be adopted to reduce the sales of cigarettes to minors at nearly 600 gas station convenience stores statewide.

“You can’t smoke them if you can’t get them,” McKenna said. "We’re targeting the places we know that kids are likely to go for cigarettes. With this agreement, Shell joins the growing list of companies ramping up their work to keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors in Washington and nationwide.”

Nationwide, 47 percent of minors who reported buying cigarettes said they did so at gas station convenience stores. Shell and Motiva supply gasoline through approximately 14,000 gas stations in the U.S., 13,000 of which are in states participating in the agreement. Many of these gas stations include independently operated convenience stores that sell tobacco products. State law prohibits tobacco sales to minors.

The Shell Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) was produced by an ongoing, multistate enforcement effort by the attorneys general and outlines best practices developed in consultation with public health researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials. The plan provides for comprehensive training of retail clerks about laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors, independent compliance checks to monitor sales practices at convenience stores at Shell stations, and potential sanctions against operators that sell tobacco to minors.

Other recent multistate agreements cover gas station convenience stores selling fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and Wal-Mart.

Studies show that most adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18 and that young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.



Janelle Guthrie, AGO Communications Director, (360) 586-0725


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