PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lori Sitler
Phone: (302) 577-8314
Pager: (302) 247-1132
Date: August 13, 2002
ATTORNEY GENERAL JANE BRADY ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH EXXON MOBIL
TO CURB TOBACCO SALES TO MINORS
Calls Agreement a National Model in Fight Against Underage Smoking
(Wilmington, DE ) B Attorney General Jane Brady and the Attorneys General of 42 other states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories, today announced that the Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil) has voluntarily agreed to implement major new policies to reduce the sale of tobacco products to minors.
AI congratulate ExxonMobil for its commitment to ensure that clerks are properly trained, I.D's are checked, self-service displays of tobacco products are eliminated, and all tobacco sales are monitored,@ Brady said. AWe believe this Agreement provides a model for other retailers across the country who are concerned about the health of their young customers.@
The Agreement is the result of ongoing discussions between the Attorneys General and ExxonMobil, the country=s largest oil company, on how best to address the problem of youths obtaining tobacco products at gas stations and convenience stores. Research has indicated that 47% of youth under the age of 18 who report buying cigarettes, identify gas stations as their primary point of purchase. ExxonMobil has agreed to standards for the hiring, employment and training of its employees regarding the sale of tobacco products. ExxonMobil will instruct its clerks to check identification of all customers who appear to be under the age of 27, and will use its security video-taping system to monitor compliance with this requirement. ExxonMobil will also prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, the sale of cigarette papers or pipes to minors, and the distribution of free tobacco-product samples on store property at all company-operated stores, which number over 1,000 nationwide.
In addition, ExxonMobil will use an outside firm to conduct random, anonymous performance checks, as well as internal monitors, to ensure employees are following the standards and are not selling tobacco products to minors at all company-operated outlets. The company will also attempt to ensure that the approximately 16,000 stations displaying the Exxon or Mobil names but not operated by the ExxonMobil Corporation comply with laws governing the sale of tobacco to minors. These franchisees will commit in writing to preventing underage tobacco sales on their premises and will inform ExxonMobil if they receive any notices of violation from law enforcement authorities for making such sales.
The Attorneys General have long recognized that underage access to tobacco products is an ongoing problem. Studies show that more than 80 percent of adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18, that every day in the United States more than 2,000 people under the age of 18 begin smoking, and that one-third of these persons will one day die from a tobacco-related disease.
In Delaware, the Attorney General's Office negotiated a Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), with tobacco companies in November, 1998, which required new retail and advertising practices aimed to reduce youth smoking and is expected to bring over $20 million to Delaware annually to address tobacco-related issues. The Department of Public Safety, Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Tobacco Enforcement is responsible to enforce state laws and regulations prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to persons under age 18. Delawareans who suspect violations of tobacco laws may file complaints by calling (302) 577-5210 or by writing to the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Tobacco Enforcement at the State Office Building, 820 N. French St., 3rd floor, Wilmington, DE 19801.