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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2003
AGs and Retailer Agree on Policies to Reduce Tobacco Sales to Minors


OLYMPIA -- A Thurston County judge has approved an agreement between the Attorney General's Office and Wal-Mart that will help reduce the sale of tobacco products to minors at its retail stores, Attorney General Christine Gregoire announced.

Wal-Mart, which operates 37 stores in Washington including Sam's Club and Wal-Mart Supercenter, signed the multi-state agreement implementing in-store procedures, employee training and other protections intended to curb the sale of tobacco to minors.

"Decades of research show that if you prevent kids from smoking their first cigarette, they probably will never smoke as adults and that's what this agreement is designed to do," said Gregoire.

The company has agreed to:

  1. Train employees on state and local laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors, including training of its employees regarding the health-related reasons for laws that restrict youth access to tobacco products.
  2. Instruct its clerks to check identification of all customers who appear to be under the age of 27, and to only accept valid government-issued photo identification as proof of age. Use cash registers programmed to prompt ID checks on all tobacco sales.
  3. Prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, the sale of cigarette papers or pipes to minors, and the distribution of free tobacco-product samples on store property.
  4. Prohibit the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors.
  5. Use an outside firm to conduct random, anonymous compliance checks of approximately 10 percent of all Wal-Mart stores every six months.

Wal-Mart voluntarily entered into the agreement after ongoing discussions between the Attorneys General of 42 states on how best to address the problems of youth obtaining tobacco products at retail stores.

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