Shell Agrees to Measures to Curb Illegal Tobacco Sales

October 8, 2008

Attorney General Steve Rowe today announced that he has joined the attorneys general of 46 other jurisdictions (45 states and the District of Columbia) in an agreement with Shell Oil Products US and its joint venture Motiva Enterprises LLC. to adopt procedures to reduce cigarette sales to minors. Shell and Motiva supply gasoline through approximately 14,000 gas stations in the U.S., more than 13,000 of which are in states joining this agreement. Many of these gas stations include independently operated convenience stores that sell items including tobacco products. In Maine, there are 45 Shell gas stations.

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 by the Attorneys General 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 stations, and potential sanctions against contract operators that sell tobacco to minors, among other terms. Many of Maine’s Shell gas stations currently participate in the NO BUTS responsible tobacco retailing program co-sponsored by the Office of the Attorney General and Maine CDC. This AVC reinforces the best practices included in the NO BUTS program.

“With this agreement, Shell joins many other Maine retailers in the effort to stop the sale of cigarettes to teens.” Rowe said. “By complying with the law and restricting teen’s access to cigarettes, gas stations and convenience stores can help further reduce the rate of teen smoking.” Since 1997 the youth smoking rate in Maine has declined by 64%

Nationwide, 47 percent of underage youths who reported buying cigarettes have said they did so at gas station convenience stores.

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 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.

“I applaud Shell for joining the fight against youth smoking and encourage the retailers who continue to illegally sell tobacco to minors to follow their lead,” Rowe added.


NEWS RELEASE October 8, 2008 David Loughran, (207) 626-8577