– Attorney General Paula T. Dow announced
today that New Jersey has signed onto a
multi-state settlement agreement with Circle
K Stores, Inc. and its sister company, Macs’s
Convenience Stores, designed to prevent
the sale of tobacco products to underage
Known as an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance,
the agreement calls for Circle K to engage
in comprehensive training of its retail
personnel, periodic “mystery shopper”
checks to ensure proper sales practices,
the cautioning of franchise operators that
selling tobacco to underage buyers will
result in serious consequences, and other
K is the nation’s second largest operator
of convenience stores, with approximately
3,000 company-owned retail outlets across
the country and 1,000 franchise locations.
Circle K stores operate under the trade
names Circle K, Dairymart and On the Run.
In New Jersey, there are 25 Circle K stores
is illegal under New Jersey law to sell
tobacco to persons under age 19. Attorney
General Dow commended Circle K for its readiness
to work with the State and other states
on behalf of preventing such sales.
agreement is about a corporation taking
responsibility for what occurs on its premises,
and about the private sector working cooperatively
with government toward a common objective
– namely keeping cigarettes and other
tobacco products out of the hands of minors,”
settlement announced today is the product
of an on-going effort involving attorneys
general throughout the United States, and
incorporates “best practices”
developed in consultation with public health
experts and tobacco control officials. In
addition to New Jersey, a total of 39 other
states and the District of Columbia are
party to the settlement agreement.
Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with Circle
K includes the following terms (among others)
relative to tobacco sales and marketing:
Identification must be checked on all
persons who appear to be under 30 to protect
against mistakes by clerks in evaluating
a person's age by appearance alone.
In-store advertising of tobacco must be
limited in ways intended to reduce the
effect on young people, and outdoor advertising
is to be eliminated at stores within 500
feet of playgrounds or schools.
Employee training will focus on the mechanics
of eliminating underage tobacco sales,
and will also emphasize the serious health
issues that give rise to the legal efforts
to restrict youth access to tobacco.
Circle K will test itself on the effectiveness
of its own safeguards against underage
sales by conducting "mystery shopper"
compliance checks at 500 of its stores
every six months.
Circle K voluntarily agreed to pay the
attorneys general a total of $225,000
to be used for such purposes as consumer
education, public protection, or the implementation
of programs protecting against tobacco
use by minors.
Previous tobacco-sales-related multi-state
settlements in which New Jersey has participated
have involved gas station convenience stores
selling fuel under the brand names Conoco,
Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP Amoco,
Shell Oil, Valero and Chevron, as well as
the retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven,
Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS and Walmart.
agreement announced today notes that the
great majority of adult smokers started
smoking before they reached age 18. It also
notes that young people show signs of addiction
after smoking only a few cigarettes.
Attorney General Glenn T. Graham and Assistant
Attorney General Carol Jacobson handled
the matter on behalf of the State.