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Post date: March 15 2006

Cvs Agrees To Curb Tobacco Sales To Minors

Attorney General Spitzer today joined the Attorneys General of 42 other states and the District of Columbia in an agreement with the nation's largest drug store chain to implement new procedures to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors.

"Every time we keep a child from smoking, we improve public health," Spitzer said. "With this agreement, CVS joins the growing list of retailers who have demonstrated their commitment to keeping our kids healthy in New York and across the country."

The agreement announced today requires that CVS do the following at all of its retail stores:

  • 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 monitor to conduct random compliance checks of 1,361 CVS stores annually in the signing states;
  • Limit tobacco signage to brand names, logos, other trademarks and pricing, and ensure that all tobacco advertising inside the store is confined to the area where tobacco products are sold; and,
  • 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 Attorneys General have long recognized that youth access to tobacco products ranks among the nation's most serious public health problems. Studies show that more than 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18. Research indicates that every day in the United States, more than 2,000 people under the age of 18 start smoking and that one-third of those persons ultimately will die from a tobacco-related disease. Young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.

The agreement with CVS is the eighth such pact produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort. Previous agreements cover all 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores, and all gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco and ARCO brand names, in the signing states. Combined, these agreements cover more than 60,000 retail outlets across the nation. Launched in 2000, the multi-state enforcement effort by the group of Attorneys General focuses on retailers with records of selling tobacco products to minors. State laws prohibit such sales. The enforcement program's goal is to secure the companies' agreement to take specific corrective actions. The agreements incorporate "best practices" to reduce sales to minors, developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials.

CVS operates more than 5,400 stores in 34 states and Washington, D.C. The company operates more than 400 stores in New York State.

In New York, the case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Christine Morrison.


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