Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff revealed that Kroger Co., the parent company of 48 stores in Utah, has agreed to enforce strict measures to keep tobacco from minors.
“Utah and other states have been working since 2000 to keep cigarettes from kids. As more retailers sign the agreements, more children have a better opportunity to grow up without smoking,” says Shurtleff.
The agreement includes all of Kroger’s 2,468 supermarkets in 31 states under two dozen banners and 779 convenience stores in 15 states under 5 banners. All but 92 of the convenience stores are company-owned. Kroger and the Attorneys General from Utah and 41 other states signed the agreement.
The Kroger “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance” (AVC) is the eleventh multi-state tobacco enforcement agreement with a retailer. 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. More than 80,000 retail outlets are now covered by the agreements.
“Every day we keep a child from smoking is a victory. This agreement shows that Kroger and a growing number of retailers care about the health of our kids,” says Kathy Kinsman, the assistant attorney general representing Utah on tobacco enforcement efforts.
Kroger will provide 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 include tobacco violations as grounds for termination for a franchise. Studies show more than 80% of adult smokers begin smoking before the age of 18.