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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 08, 2004
States Reach Agreement With Rite Aid Over Tobacco Sales to Minors


OLYMPIA -- Attorney General Christine Gregoire announced today that Rite Aid has entered into an agreement with 20 states, including Washington, to help reduce the sale of tobacco to minors.

Rite Aid, the latest national retailer to reach such an agreement with state attorneys general, will adopt procedures to prevent tobacco sales to underage youth in its more than 3,000 stores across the country, including 134 stores in Washington.

"This is a significant commitment because we know that if we can keep teens from smoking, they are far less likely as adults to become addicted to tobacco," Gregoire said.

Under the agreement, Rite Aid will 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.

The stores will also check the ID of any person purchasing tobacco products who appears to be under age 27, accept only valid government-issued photo identification as proof of age, use cash registers programmed to prompt ID checks on all tobacco sales, and conduct random compliance checks in participating states.

In addition, Rite Aid is prohibited from: using self-service displays of tobacco products; using vending machines to sell cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff; distributing free samples of such products on store property, and; selling cigarette look-alike products or smoking paraphernalia to minors.

The agreement with Rite Aid is the latest in the multi-state enforcement effort by attorneys general to focus on retailers that have high rates of tobacco sales to minors. Similar agreements have been reached with Walmart and Walgreens stores, and gas stations operated by Exxon-Mobil, Arco, and BP-Amoco.

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