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Tobacco Retailer's Guide: Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco Products



The Attorney General’s Program to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco

Maryland was among the first Attorneys General to sue the United States’ tobacco companies, alleging conspiracy, fraud, and antitrust and consumer protection law violations and the targeting of children in its advertising. Since the 1998 settlement, an estimated 13.5 percent fewer Maryland children have access to tobacco products. Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler continues to make this issue a major priority of his Office:

July 10, 2006: Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced that Lorillard Tobacco Co. ("Lorillard”) has agreed to implement new measures to prevent the illegal sale of its cigarettes over the Internet and through the mail. These protocols are being adopted nationwide and voluntarily by Lorillard pursuant to an agreement reached with 33 Attorneys General across the country. A similar agreement was reached with Philip Morris USA in January. "Internet sales of cigarettes can and do harm kids,” said General Curran. "Most internet age verification systems are inadequate, and without that critical safeguard it is much more difficult to keep cigarettes out of the hands of kids. Studies show however, the longer we keep those cigarettes out of kids hands, the better the chance they will NOT become lifetime smokers.”  Read the Press Release.

March 15, 2006: Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., announced 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.

Nov. 16, 2005: Attorney General Curran announced that he had written a letter, joined by 31 other Attorneys General, asking Hollywood's major motion picture studios to insert an anti-smoking public service announcement in DVD, video and UMD movies that depict smoking. Attorney General Curran wrote to Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Fox Filmed Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Miramax, Dreamworks and New Line Cinema.

August 11, 2005: Attorney General Curran announced agreement with national convenience store chain, and nation's largest tobacco retailer, 7-Eleven, to reduce youth access to cigarettes in 7-Eleven's stores. Press release and Agreement. The Attorney General also has negotiated similar youth access to tobacco agreements with Rite Aid (Sept. 2004), Walmart's/Sam's Club (Sept. 2003), BP Amoco (Dec. 2002), Exxon/Mobil (Aug. 2002) and Walgreens (Feb. 2002).

October 6, 2004: Attorney General Curran announced a landmark settlement with R.J. Reynolds, in which the cigarette manufacturer agreed to significant restrictions on future "Kool Mixx" promotions and also agreed to pay $1.46 million to be used for youth smoking prevention. Read the Press release and Settlement Agreement.

July 1, 2004: Attorney General Curran announced he had sued the maker of Kool cigarettes for targeting youth with a hip-hop advertising campaign. Press release

May 11, 2004: The Attorney General testified before Congress on his recent findings regarding the depiction of smoking in the movies and its effect on children. Press release

Dec. 17, 2003: Attorney General Curran announced that entertainment industry executives are willing to work cooperatively to address the issue of depictions of smoking in the movies. Press release

Dec. 3, 2003: Attorney General Curran announced a settlement with the operators of the website www.dirtcheapcig.com prohibiting them from selling cigarettes over the Internet. Press release

August 26, 2003: Attorney General Curran announced that he had written to the Motion Picture Association calling for a reduction in smoking in the movies. Press release

June 24, 2003: The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division charged the the operators of a Web site with selling cigarettes to minors and failing to comply with Maryland cigarette tax and licensing laws. Press release

February 13, 2002: Attorney General Curran announced a landmark agreement with national drugstore chain Walgreens designed to reduce youth access to cigarettes in Walgreens' stores. Press release. The Attorney General has also negotiated youth access to tobacco agreements with BP Amoco (December 2002) and Exxon/Mobil (August 2002).

December 10, 2001: Attorney General Curran attended the opening of the Legal Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation, and Advocacy at the University of Maryland School of Law. The center offers legal assistance to local governments and community groups looking to reduce access to tobacco products, and the Attorney General's Office will assist with those efforts. Funding for the center comes from the state’s tobacco settlement funds, through the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Health Promotion, Education and Tobacco Use Prevention. The Center's website is www.law.umaryland.edu/tobacco. Its phone number is (410) 706-1129.

June 11, 2001: Attorney General Curran announced the result of a sting operation performed by his office to determine the rate at which children under 18 can purchase cigarettes. A shocking 62 percent of the purchase attempts by the minors resulted in the illegal sale of cigarettes. Press release

The sting was a first step in the Attorney General's Program to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco. Statistics reveal that each year 12,800 Maryland youth start a smoking habit, and studies show that the younger a person is when beginning to smoke, the more likely that person will become a lifelong smoker, unwilling or unable to quit despite the serious health risks associated with smoking.

The Attorney General’s Office will work with other state agencies and local authorities to develop a comprehensive enforcement effort to stop the sale of tobacco products to underage buyers. Also, the Attorney General works with tobacco retailers who want to adopt policies and practices designed to reduce youth sales. His Office has created and distributed a brochure, Tobacco Retailer's Guide: Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco Products.

If you have a question about the Attorney General’s program or would like know how you can help, or if you are a tobacco retailer who has a question about compliance, e-mail tobacco@law.umaryland.edu


Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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