For immediate release - Wednesday, March 15, 2006.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.
Miller: CVS Pharmacies Will Take Steps to Curb
Tobacco Sales to Minors
DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller said today that CVS Pharmacy, Inc., the nation's largest retail pharmacy, is adopting
practices to reduce sales of tobacco products to minors. CVS has 5,400 stores across the country, and is acquiring Osco
pharmacies nationwide -- including 11 in Iowa.
The CVS agreement was reached with Iowa and 42 other states, and Washington, D.C.
"These steps will help prevent sales of tobacco to minors," Miller said. "That's crucial because most smokers start and
become addicted when they are young. This is just another step in our efforts to reduce smoking and the disaster it causes
for smokers and taxpayers."
of Voluntary Compliance" requires CVS to:
- Limit in-store
advertising of tobacco products to brand names, logos and pricing; confine
signs to areas where tobacco products are sold; and ban self-service
displays of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
- Check the ID of
any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be
under the age of 27, and accept as proof of age only a valid government-issued
- Prohibit using
vending machines to sell tobacco products, distributing free samples,
selling cigarette look-alike products, and selling smoking paraphernalia
- Hire an independent
entity to conduct random compliance checks twice each year at 468 of
its stores in the signing states.
- 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 CVS "Assurance of Voluntary Compliance" is the ninth such agreement produced by an ongoing, multi-state
enforcement effort. Previous agreements cover, in the signing states, all Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite Aid and 7-Eleven
stores, and all gas stations and convenience stores operating under the Exxon, Mobil, BP, ARCO, Amoco, Conoco, Phillips
66 and 76 brand names.
Miller and his office have helped lead the multi-state enforcement effort by a group of 34 Attorneys General. The group
focuses on retailers with poor records of selling tobacco products to minors, which is prohibited by state laws. The
enforcement program's goal is to obtain corrective action by companies. The agreements incorporate "best practices" to
reduce sales to minors, developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with researchers and state and federal tobacco
"We commend CVS for working with us to tackle this public health problem," Miller said.
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.
Success in Reducing Cigarette Sales:
Miller noted that efforts to reduce smoking overall are succeeding. Figures released last week show that U.S. tobacco sales
for 2005 show a 4.2% decline from the year before, and a 21% decline since 1998, when the "Master Settlement
Agreement" (MSA) was reached that imposed major public health restrictions on the advertising, promotion and marketing
of cigarettes by tobacco companies. There were 378 billion cigarettes sold in the US in 2005 - the lowest number since
1951, and a decline all the more impressive because the U.S. population has more than doubled.
"We're on the right track, but we still have a long way to go to eliminate the disastrous consequences of tobacco," Miller
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