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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2007
Attorney General Rob McKenna announces agreement to curb tobacco sales to minors

Multistate Agreement Covers 128 Kroger Stores in Washington

Seattle – Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced an agreement with Kroger Co., the nation’s largest grocery chain. Under the agreement, Kroger will implement comprehensive youth prevention practices to reduce the sale of tobacco products to minors at its 128 Washington locations operating under the QFC and Fred Meyer banners.

"This agreement is a victory in the battle to keep children from smoking,” Attorney General McKenna said. “Preventing more kids from beginning to smoke means that fewer will die from smoking-related illnesses. National studies have shown that more than 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18.”

Attorneys General launched a multistate enforcement effort in 2000 focused on retailers with poor records of selling tobacco products to minors. The effort seeks to secure agreements with national retailers that they will take specific corrective actions to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors.

“Our youth are extremely susceptible to the hazards associated with tobacco,” McKenna said. “I commend Kroger for its commitment to implement measures to address this issue in Washington and around the country.”
 
Kroger operates 2,468 supermarkets in 31 states and 779 convenience stores in 15 states. Under the agreement, Kroger will adopt a set of “best practices” aimed at reducing the sale of tobacco products to minors. The agreement requires that all company-owned Kroger stores 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 Kroger-owned stores in the signing states;
  • Restrict in-store advertising of tobacco products adjacent to products popular with minors, as well as 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.

Kroger will also implement steps to prevent youth access to tobacco in its stores, including providing annual notices of the importance of complying with youth access laws; requiring franchisees to report violations to the corporate office; and modifying franchise agreements to provide that violations of youth access laws could constitute grounds for termination or non-renewal of the franchise agreement.

The Kroger "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" (AVC) is the 11th agreement produced as part of the multi-state enforcement effort and includes 41 other states and Guam.

The 11 agreements cover more than 80,000 retail outlets in the country, including all 7-Eleven, CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores, gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Conoco, Phillips 66, 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand names in the signing states.

Kroger agreement


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Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432

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