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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2005
McKenna Announces Agreement With 7-Eleven To Curb Tobacco Sales To Minors


Multi-State Agreement With Major Retailers Covers 209 Washington Stores

OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced an agreement with 7-Eleven, Inc. under which the nation’s largest seller of tobacco products will implement new procedures to reduce such sales to minors at its 209 Washington stores as well as at 4,707 outlets in 33 other states and Washington D.C.

“This agreement is a significant public health victory,” McKenna said. “The fewer kids who start smoking, the fewer who will eventually die from smoking-related illnesses. We should commend 7-Eleven for its commitment to implement meaningful measures to address the problem of tobacco sales to minors.”

The 7-Eleven “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance” (AVC) is the seventh such agreement produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort in which Washington has participated. Previous agreements cover all Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores, and all gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Exxon, Mobil, BP, ARCO and Amoco brand names, in the participating states. Combined, the agreements cover nearly 50,000 retail outlets across the nation.

These agreements provide measures to reduce sales of tobacco products to minors by the nation’s top retail chain (Wal-Mart), number-one drug store chain (Walgreens), largest oil company (ExxonMobil) and biggest retailer of tobacco products (7-Eleven).

Launched in 2000, the multi-state enforcement effort by a group of 32 Attorneys General focuses on retailers with poor records of selling tobacco products to minors. State laws prohibit such sales. The enforcement program’s goal is to secure the companies’ agreement to take specific corrective actions.

The agreements incorporate “best practices” to reduce sales to minors, developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials. The agreement announced today requires that at all company-owned stores 7-Eleven will:

  • Check the ID of any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be under the age of 27, and accept only valid government-issued photo ID as proof of age;
  •  Prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, the use of vending machines to sell tobacco products, distribution of free samples, sale of cigarette look-alike products, and the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors;
  •  Hire an independent entity to conduct random compliance checks of 900 7-Eleven stores annually in the signing states;
  • Restrict in-store advertising of tobacco products adjacent to products popular with minors and outdoor and outward-facing advertising within 500 feet of schools and playgrounds;
  •  Train employees on state and local laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors, including explaining the health-related reasons for laws that restrict youth access to tobacco.

7-Eleven will also take steps to assure compliance by its franchisees with the provisions of the agreement and state laws concerning tobacco products.

National Attorneys General have long recognized that youth access to tobacco products ranks among the most serious public health problems. Studies show more than 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18. Research indicates that every day in the United States, more than 2,000 people under the age of 18 start smoking and that one-third of those persons ultimately will die from a tobacco-related disease. Young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.

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For interviews contact :
Rusty Fallis, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, (360) 664-495

For more information contact:
Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725 or (360) 561-4184

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