Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)
mmerz@atg.state.il.us

March 15 , 2006

MADIGAN, 43 OTHER ATTORNEYS GENERAL ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT WITH CVS TO CURB TOBACCO SALES TO MINORS

AGREEMENT SIGNED WITH NATION'S LARGEST RETAIL PHARMACY

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that she has joined the Attorneys General of 42 other states and the District of Columbia in reaching an agreement with CVS Pharmacy, Inc., under which the nation’s largest drug store chain will implement new procedures to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors.

The agreement covers the 5,411 CVS retail stores in 37 states and Washington D.C., including 138 stores in Illinois. In addition, the agreement will cover the 700 stand-alone Sav-On and Osco pharmacies previously owned by Albertsons, which CVS acquired in a deal earlier today and will operate in the CVS name.

“We know that 80 percent of adult smokers began their deadly habit before reaching the legal smoking age of 18. By preventing a child from smoking we can protect the health of the next generation,” Madigan said. “I am pleased that the hard work of the multi-state Attorney General group has resulted in agreements with a growing number of retailers, most recently CVS.”

Madigan said this is the seventh such agreement her office has signed with national retailers. Previous agreements cover all 7-Eleven, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens stores, and all gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, and Amoco brand names.

The agreements are the result of an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort. Combined, the agreements cover more than 60,000 retail outlets across the nation. Launched in 2000, this enforcement effort by the Attorneys General focuses on retailers around the country with poor records of selling tobacco products to minors. The enforcement program’s goal is to secure the companies’ agreement to take specific corrective actions. The agreements incorporate “best practices” to reduce sales to minors, developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials.

Under the agreement announced today, all CVS retail stores are required to:

  • Check the ID of any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be under the age of 27, and accept only valid government-issued photo ID as proof of age.
  • Prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, the use of vending machines to sell tobacco products, distribution of free samples, sale of cigarette look-alike products, and the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors.
  • Hire an independent entity to conduct annual, random compliance checks of 1,361 CVS stores in the signing states.
  • Limit tobacco signage to brand names, logos, other trademarks, and pricing, and ensure that all tobacco advertising inside the store is confined to the area where tobacco products are sold.
  • Train employees on state and local laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors, including explaining the health-related reasons for laws that restrict youth access to tobacco

The Attorneys General have long recognized that youth access to tobacco products ranks among the most serious public health problems. Studies show more than 80 percent of adult smokers begin 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.

Under the agreement, CVS also agreed to pay $250,000 for the costs incurred by the states in investigation and negotiation.

In addition to Madigan, the participating Attorneys General represent Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Assistant Attorney General Karen Winberg-Jensen is handling the case for Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division.

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