For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: September 8, 2004

Idaho Reaches Voluntary Agreement with Rite Aid Stores to Reduce Tobacco Sales to Minors

(Boise) - Rite Aid stores in Idaho and across the nation have agreed to implement new policies and business practices to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors in their stores, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. Attorney General Wasden joined attorneys general from 20 other states and the District of Columbia in the settlement agreement.

"Rite Aid has joined a growing number of responsible retailers who are actively working to prevent tobacco sales to youth," Attorney General Wasden, Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, said. "This voluntary agreement is another significant step toward reducing illegal tobacco use by minors."

The Rite Aid "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" is the most recent agreement produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort. The enforcement effort, focusing on retailers that have high rates of sales to minors, seeks to secure agreements to adopt procedures to prevent sales to underage youth. State attorneys general have also reached agreements that apply to all Walgreens and Wal-Mart stores and to all gas stations operating under the Exxon, Mobil, BP, and Amoco brand names in their states.

The agreement requires Rite Aid to do the following:

  • 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.

  • Check the ID of any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be under age 27, and only accept currently valid government-issued photo identification as proof of age.

  • Use cash registers programmed to prompt ID checks on all tobacco sales.

  • Hire an independent entity to conduct random compliance checks of over 10% of all Rite Aid stores in the participating states every six months.

  • Prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, the use of vending machines to sell tobacco products, the sale of cigarette look-alike products, and the distribution of free samples on store property.

  • Prohibit the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors.

The attorneys general recognize that youth access to tobacco products ranks among the most serious public health problems. Studies show that more than 80 percent of adult smokers began 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 begin smoking and that one-third of those persons will one day die from a tobacco-related disease.

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