The Valero company has agreed to a set of measures aimed at reducing tobacco sales to minors at more than 4,900 gas station convenience stores operating nationwide under Valero trademarks, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Wednesday.
“Valero owns 1,000 convenience store outlets and has nearly 4,000 franchise outlets, so this will make a difference,” Miller said. “We now have about 100,000 retail outlets nationwide operating under comparable agreements and measures to block tobacco sales to kids.”
Valero plans to have clerks to check the I.D. of any tobacco customer who appears to be under age 27, as well as use security videotapes to monitor compliance by clerks, eliminate self-service tobacco displays and vending machines, perform random compliance checks involving youthful tobacco purchasers, in addition to other safeguards. Valero also plans to change the terms of its franchise contracts so tobacco sales to minors must be reported to Valero, and illegal sales could result in loss of the franchise.
“This is the latest in a series of agreements we’ve reached with the nation’s largest tobacco retailers,” Miller said. Similar agreements have been made with Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS drug store chains; ExxonMobil, BP Amoco, ARCO, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Shell oil companies; Wal-Mart and 7-Eleven retailers; and the Kroger grocery chain.
Miller commended Valero for taking strong steps to block sales of tobacco to minors. “Most smokers started as children, and one-third of children who take up smoking will die from a tobacco-related disease. And youths get tobacco at gas stations- 47% of kids who buy cigarettes say gas station outlets are their primary point of purchase,” Miller noted.
Iowa was one of 39 states that reached agreement with Valero Retail Holdings Inc., and Valero Marketing and Supply Company, based in San Antonio, Texas. Valero retail brands include Valero, Beacon, Diamond, Shamrock, Ultramar, Corner Store, and Stop N Go.