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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Circle K Stores Inc. and Mac's Convenience Stores LLC signed a multi-state agreement to cut down on the sales of tobacco products to minors, several attorneys general announced. The agreement, also known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, was reached between the two store chains and attorney generals in 39 states and the District of Columbia; it covers around 4,000 convenience stores in 32 states.
Circle K will adopt procedures intended to reduce the amount of marketing and sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products to minors at around 3,000 corporate-owned stores, according to the announcements, and will adopt procedures to curb underage tobacco sales at around 1,000 franchise stores. Other store names covered by the agreement include Dairymart and On The Run.
Terms of the agreement include: • Clerks must check the IDs of all persons who appear to be under 30, to avoid illegal sales based on appearance alone.
• In-store advertising of tobacco products must be limited in ways intended to reduce the effect on young people; outdoor advertising must be eliminated at stores within 500 feet of playgrounds or schools.
• Employee training is to focus on the mechanics of eliminating underage tobacco sales and emphasize the serious health issues that give rise to the legal efforts to restrict underage access to tobacco.
• Circle K will test these safeguards by conducting "mystery shopper" compliance checks at 500 of its stores every six months.
• Circle K will pay the attorneys general a total of $225,000 to be used for purposes such as consumer education, public protection and programs to prevent underage tobacco use.
"Teens tend to view convenience stores as places where access to tobacco is easier," said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna in a prepared statement. "That's why I appreciate that Circle K is stepping up to join the companies strengthening procedures to curtail tobacco sales to minors, both in Washington state and nationwide."
Previous multistate agreements have covered gas stations operating under the Conoco, Phillips 66, 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP Amoco, Shell, Valero, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walmart.