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Terry Goddard Announces Accord with Shell Oil to Curb Tobacco Sales to Minors

(Phoenix, Ariz. – October 8, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced an agreement with Shell Oil Products US (Shell) and its joint venture Motiva Enterprises LLC (Motiva) in which Shell and Motiva will establish procedures designed to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors at their retail locations.

Attorneys General of 45 other states and the District of Columbia participated in this agreement. It covers tobacco sales at more than 13,000 Shell and Motiva gas stations nationwide, including 281 Shell stations in Arizona.

“This agreement will have important benefits for the health and security of Arizona’s young people,” Goddard said. “I commend Shell for joining this important effort to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors.”

The Shell Assurance of Voluntary Compliance was developed through an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort by state Attorneys General. The assurance incorporates "best practices" developed by the Attorneys General in consultation with public health researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials.

The assurance includes provisions for comprehensive training of retail personnel regarding laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors, independent compliance checks to monitor sales practices at certain convenience stores at Shell stations and potential sanctions against contract operators that sell tobacco to minors.

Similar multi-state agreements have been reached with Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand name gas stations. Agreements also have been reached with several retail and pharmacy chains, including Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and Wal-Mart.

Nationwide, 47 percent of underage youths who reported buying cigarettes said they did so at gas station convenience stores. Studies show that most adult smokers began smoking before the age of 18, and that young people are particularly susceptible to the hazards of tobacco, often showing signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes.

A copy of the agreement is available on the Attorney General’s Web site, www.azag.gov . For more information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019.

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