For Immediate Release
October 8, 2008
Attorney General Kelly Ayotte today announced that she has joined the Attorneys General of 46 other jurisdictions (45 states and the District of Columbia) in an agreement with Shell Oil Products US and its joint venture Motiva Enterprises LLC. Shell and Motiva to adopt procedures designed to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors at convenience stores at Shell gas stations, although they do not directly own or operate the convenience stores. Shell and Motiva supply gasoline through approximately 14,000 gas stations in the U.S., more than 13,000 of which are in states joining this agreement. Many of these gas stations include independently operated convenience stores that sell items including tobacco products.
There are 58 Shell stations in New Hampshire. New Hampshire law prohibits tobacco sales to minors. "With this agreement, Shell joins the growing list of companies demonstrating their commitment to lead efforts against youth access to tobacco, in New Hampshire and nationwide," Attorney General Ayotte said. Nationwide, nearly half of the underage youths who reported buying cigarettes have said they did so at gas station convenience stores. "By requiring compliance with the law and limiting access to cigarettes, we help stop kids from smoking. For every child that doesn't become a smoker, that's a health victory, for the child and for the state," the Attorney General said.
The Shell Assurance of Discontinuance was produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort among the Attorneys General, and incorporates "best practices" developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with public health researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials. This Assurance includes provisions for comprehensive training of retail personnel regarding laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors, independent compliance checks to monitor sales practices at certain convenience stores at Shell stations, and potential sanctions against contract operators that sell tobacco to minors, among other terms.
Other recent multi-state agreements cover gas station convenience stores selling fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, and Wal-Mart.
Studies show that most adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18, and that young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.
"We commend Shell for joining us in this important ongoing effort to keep tobacco out of the hands of young people," Attorney General Ayotte said. "Much remains to be done in the battle against childhood addiction to tobacco, but agreements like this one make an important contribution."
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