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Agreement with attorneys general is latest in effort to prevent tobacco addiction

OLYMPIA -- Attorney General Rob McKenna said Wednesday that Valero, one of the nation’s largest gas station chains, has agreed to implement new procedures to reduce tobacco sales to kids.

“Each day in the U.S., nearly 2,000 young people start smoking,” said McKenna, the Tobacco Committee Co-chair for the National Association of Attorneys General. “Agreements such as this one with Valero aim to prevent kids from becoming tobacco-addicted adults by eliminating a primary source of cigarettes.”

An estimated 690 million packs of cigarettes are sold to minors each year nationwide, the attorneys general noted. Studies have shown that 47 percent of kids who buy cigarettes say gas station outlets are their primary point of purchase.

The agreement between 39 attorneys general and Valero is the latest in a multistate enforcement effort launched in 2000. It includes specific procedures and policies designed to address how tobacco is displayed and sold in Valero’s nearly 1,000 company-owned stations and 4,000 franchise outlets, including franchises in Washington state. Valero’s brands include Valero, Beacon, Diamond, Shamrock, Ultramar, Corner Store, and Stop N Go.

Similar agreements have been reached with Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS drug store chains; ExxonMobil, BP Amoco, ARCO, ConocoPhillips,  Chevron, and Shell oil companies; Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven retailers; and the Kroger grocery chain. Combined, the agreements cover nearly 100,000 retail outlets across the nation.

Valero will instruct clerks to check I.D. for all tobacco customers who appear to be under age 27, use security videotapes to monitor compliance by clerks, eliminate self-service tobacco displays and vending machines, perform random compliance checks involving youthful tobacco purchasers and implement many other safeguards.

Valero also agreed to change the terms of its franchise contracts so that tobacco sales to minors must be reported to the company, and illegal sales could result in loss of the franchise.

The following states participated in the agreement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.


Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov