Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined 38 other states and the District of Columbia today to announce an agreement with Circle K Stores Inc. and Mac’s Convenience Stores LLC to prevent the sale of tobacco to children and teens. The agreement will impose compliance checks and increase training for the companies’ 4,000 convenience stores nationwide, including more than 250 locations in Illinois, all of which sell tobacco products.
“Many adult smokers start their habit at an early age,” Attorney General Madigan said. “By preventing teens’ access to cigarettes, we’re working to deter them from picking up this deadly habit.”
Circle K, Dairymart and On The Run stores will now comprehensively train retail personnel, conduct independent compliance checks to monitor sales. The agreement comes as part of the attorneys general ongoing, multistate enforcement effort and incorporates methods to prevent underage tobacco access developed by the group and public health experts and tobacco control officials.
Madigan said the multistate effort responds to studies that show the majority of adult smokers started before they reached 18, that youth show signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes and that the younger a person begins smoking the more likely they are unable to quit and will suffer from a tobacco-related disease.
Previous multistate agreements reached by Madigan and the attorneys general have affected gas station convenience stores selling fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP Amoco, Shell, Valero, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and Walmart.
The agreement with Circle K includes the following terms:
- D must be checked on all persons who appear to be under 30 years old to protect against mistakes by clerks in evaluating a person’s age by their appearance alone.
- In-store tobacco advertising must be limited in ways intended to reduce the effect on young people, and outdoor advertising must be eliminated at stores within 500 feet of playgrounds or schools.
- Employee training will focus on how to eliminate underage tobacco sales, and will emphasize the serious health issues that give rise to the legal efforts to restrict youth access to tobacco.
- Circle K will test itself on the effectiveness of its own safeguards against underage sales by conducting “mystery shopper” compliance checks at 500 of its stores every six months.
- Circle K voluntarily agreed to pay the attorneys general a total of $225,000 to be used for consumer education, public protection or the implementation of programs protecting against tobacco use by minors.