7-eleven To Prevent Tobacco Sales To Minors

Attorney General Spitzer today announced an agreement with 7-Eleven, Inc., the nation’s largest retailer of tobacco products, to implement new procedures to protect against underage tobacco product purchases.

"Shielding our nation's children against early exposure to addictive tobacco products is paramount in protecting public health," Spitzer said.

As part of the agreement, at its 258 New York stores and 5,673 outlets in 33 other states and the District of Columbia, 7-Eleven Inc. will implement a number of procedures designed to reduce youth access to tobacco products, including:

  • Checking the ID of any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be under the age of 27, and accepting only valid government-issued photo ID as proof of age, such as a driver’s license, passport, military ID or immigration card;
  • Prohibiting self-service displays of tobacco products, vending machine sales of tobacco products, distribution of free samples, the sale of cigarette look-alike products and the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors;
  • Restricting in-store advertising of tobacco products adjacent to products popular with minors and ceasing outdoor and outward-facing advertising within 500 feet of schools and playgrounds;
  • Engaging the services of an independent auditor to conduct random compliance checks at 900 7-Eleven stores each year; and
  • Training employees on state and local laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors, including explaining the health-related reasons for laws restricting youth access to tobacco products.

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

Statistics show that 80 percent of regular adult smokers began smoking as children. Every day in the United States more than 2,000 children begin smoking cigarettes and one third of those children will one day die from a tobacco-related disease. Data released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicate that, on average among all U.S. retailers, one in every four attempts by a person 15 to 17 years old to purchase cigarettes over the counter results in a sale.

Since 2002, Spitzer's office, together with other attorneys general, has obtained similar reforms from major retailers of tobacco products such as Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Walgreens, BP-Amoco and Exxon-Mobil Corporation.

Joining New York in the agreement with 7-Eleven are the states of: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.

In settling the multi-state investigation, 7-Eleven agreed to pay $375,000 to the participating states.

For New York, this case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Christine Morrison in the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau.