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For Immediate Release
March 15, 2006
Media Contact:
Kevin Enright 410-576-6357

CURRAN ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH CVS
TO CURB TOBACCO SALES TO MINORS

Forty-four States Sign Agreement With Nation’s Largest Retail Pharmacy

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., announced today that he has helped lead Attorneys General of 42 other states and the District of Columbia in an agreement with CVS Pharmacy, Inc. under which the nation’s largest drug store chain will implement new procedures to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors at its more than 5400 retail stores. "This is a fight we must keep fighting; every day we steer a child away from smoking is a public health victory for the state of Maryland,” said Attorney General Curran.

The CVS "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" (AVC) is the eighth such agreement produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort by the Attorneys General. 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, the agreements cover more than 60,000 retail outlets across the nation, with more than 1300 in Maryland alone. Launched in 2000, this multi-state enforcement effort focuses on national tobacco retailers to secure the companies’ agreement to take specific corrective actions to prevent cigarette sales to minors. Such sales are prohibited by State law. 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.

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 entity to conduct random compliance checks of 1361CVS 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.
  • 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.

Curran's agreement with CVS illustrates the kind of efforts he and other state attorneys general have taken starting with the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) that have contributed to the historic drop in the number of cigarettes sold in the US last year. The National Association of Attorneys General announced last week that, according to figures compiled by the Tobacco Tax Bureau of the US Department of the Treasury, cigarette sales in 2005 declined by 4.2% from 2004 levels, marking the largest one-year percentage decrease in cigarette sales since 1999, and the continued long-term decline in cigarette smoking that began with the 1998 MSA.

In addition to reaching agreements with national tobacco retailers like CVS, Attorney General Curran has led a number of efforts to combat youth tobacco use, including enforcing the MSA against Brown & Williamson's "Kool Mixx" marketing campaign that used hip-hop culture to promote cigarettes and suing an Internet tobacco vendor who sold tobacco products without verifying the age of its purchasers. Curran is also challenging Hollywood movie studios to reduce smoking depictions in movies and to include an anti-smoking public service announcement on all video and DVD movies that depict smoking. Attorney General Curran is also responsible for securing R.J. Reynolds' agreement to cease and desist its "Camel Coasters" promotion, which encouraged binge drinking by young adult smokers by mailing them coasters with mixed drink recipes with high alcohol content and messages that promoted excessive and irresponsible drinking.

Click here to download the agreement.


   

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