Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a settlement agreement in Marion County Circuit Court with BP West Coast Products (BP), formalizing an agreement in which the retailer agreed to change its operating procedures to reduce tobacco sales to minors at 72 ARCO gas stations and convenience stores located in Oregon.
The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, that admits no law violation, is the fourth agreement negotiated by Myers and other Attorneys General. Myers was joined today in the AVC by Attorneys General from Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington as part of an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort. Previous agreements apply to tobacco sales in all Walgreens stores, and to all gas stations operating under the Exxon, Mobil, BP, and Amoco brand names.
"We will not tolerate tobacco products being sold to our children," Myers said. "This effort focuses on retailers with high rates of tobacco sales to minors, which is illegal in Oregon. We are pleased that BP adopted policies to prevent this happening to our youth."
Today's agreement requires BP and all its ARCO outlets to:
Prohibit the use of self-service displays of cigarettes including the use of vending machines to sell tobacco products.
Prohibit the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors.
Check the identification of any person purchasing tobacco products when the person appears to be under age 35.
Hire an independent entity to conduct annual, random compliance checks of 50 percent of its owned and operated outlets.
Transition to cash registers programmed to prompt ID checks on tobacco sales.
Train employees on state laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors.
The agreement also encourages ARCO outlets that are owned or operated by third-parties to comply with Oregon's state laws governing sales to minors. BP will notify these parties that violation of state laws could constitute grounds for termination of their right to operate the outlet under the ARCO brand name. BP, in future contracts with these parties, must require compliance with state laws and offer them the opportunity to participate in its compliance inspection (mystery shopper) program.
Youth access to tobacco products ranks among the most serious public health problems with 47 percent of minors reporting buying cigarettes also identifying gas stations as their primary point of purchase. Research indicates that more than 2,000 minors begin smoking every day in the United States and of those 2,000 children, about 660 will one day die from a tobacco-related disease.
Oregonians who suspect violations of state tobacco sales to minors may contact the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org