Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Announces Agreement With Shell Oil To Curb Tobacco Sales To Minors

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, October 08, 2008  
Contact Information:  Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that he has joined with 46 other attorneys general in an agreement with Shell Oil Products U.S. and its joint venture Motiva Enterprises LLC to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors. 

Shell and Motiva supply gasoline through approximately 14,000 gas stations in the United States.  Many of these gas stations include independently operated convenience stores that sell a multitude of items, including tobacco products.  Shell and Motiva have agreed to adopt procedures through their franchise agreements that are designed to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors.

There are 252 Shell stations in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  Kentucky law prohibits tobacco sales to minors under the age of 18. 

“Nationwide, 47 percent of underage youths who reported buying cigarettes have said they did so at gas station convenience stores,” General Conway said.  "By requiring compliance with the law and limiting access to cigarettes, we help stop kids from developing an addiction that will detrimentally affect their health and wellness.”

The Shell “Assurance of Voluntary Compliance” (AVC) was produced by an ongoing, multi-state enforcement effort among the attorneys general and incorporates "best practices" developed in consultation with public health researchers and state and federal tobacco control officials.  This AVC includes provisions for comprehensive training of retail personnel regarding laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors, independent compliance checks to monitor sales practices at certain Shell convenience stores, and potential sanctions against contract operators that sell tobacco to minors.

Other recent multi-state agreements cover gas station convenience stores selling fuel under the Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, and Wal-Mart.

Studies show that most adult smokers begin 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.

“We commend Shell for joining us in this important ongoing effort to keep tobacco out of the hands of young people,” General Conway said.  “Much remains to be done in the battle against childhood addiction to tobacco, but agreements like this one make an important contribution.”