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

Date: October 23, 2007

Wasden Joins Agreement with Kroger to Curb Tobacco Sales to Minors

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today announced an agreement with The Kroger Company to reduce unlawful tobacco sales to minors at its 14 Idaho stores. The agreement applies to Kroger’s 2,468 supermarkets in 31 states and 779 convenience stores in 15 states. Kroger owns the Fred Meyer and Smith’s stores in Idaho.

"Kroger is to be commended for joining a growing number of responsible retailers who are actively working to prevent tobacco sales to youth," Attorney General Wasden said. "This voluntary agreement is another significant step toward reducing illegal tobacco use by minors."

Attorney General Wasden joined attorneys general from 41 other states and the District of Columbia in the settlement agreement.

Under the voluntary agreement, Kroger will:

  • implement comprehensive youth prevention tobacco retailing practices in its company owned stores;
  • take steps to prevent youth access to tobacco in its franchise outlets, including providing annual notices of the importance of complying with youth access laws;
  • require franchisees to report violations to the corporate office; and,
  • modify franchise agreements to provide that violations of youth access laws could constitute grounds for termination or non-renewal of the franchise agreement.

The Kroger "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" (AVC) is the eleventh such agreement produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort. Previous agreements cover all 7-Eleven, CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores and all gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Conoco, Phillips 66, 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand names in the signing states. Combined, the agreements cover more than 80,000 retail outlets across the nation.

The multi-state enforcement effort by the Attorneys General, launched in 2000, seeks to secure national retailers’ agreement to take specific corrective actions to prevent sales of tobacco products to minors. State laws prohibit such sales.

The Attorneys General recognize that youth access to tobacco products ranks among the most serious public health problems. Studies show 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 start smoking and that one-third of those persons ultimately will die from a tobacco-related disease. Young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.

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