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    Kroger Vows to Stop Tobacco Sales to Minors

    Signs agreement with 41 states to implement youth prevention practices in company-op stores.

    JACKSON, MISS. -- Kroger Co., the nation's largest grocery chain and operator of 780 convenience stores, signed an "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" agreement with 41 U.S states, promising to take steps to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors, The Associated Press reported.

    As part of the agreement, Kroger will implement youth prevention tobacco retailing practices in its company-owned stores, the AP said. In addition, the company will take steps to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors in franchise outlets, through requiring franchisees to report violations to the corporate office, and modifying franchise agreements to state that violations of youth access laws could constitute grounds for termination, or non-renewal of the franchise contract, the AP reported.

    The compliance is the 11th of its kind through a multi-state effort, the office of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, told the AP. Other retailers to sign such agreements include 7-Eleven, CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid, according to the report.

    The compliance effort, launched in 2000 by state attorney generals, seeks to secure retailers' agreement to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors, the report stated.

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