Wal-Mart Snuffs Out Tobacco Sales to Minors

BENTONVILLE, Ark.- In a renewed effort to reduce sales of tobacco to minors, Wal-Mart Stores here has agreed to adopt new procedures to ensure compliance with state and federal tobacco laws, the Associated Press reports.

The tighter tobacco sales efforts to prevent the sale of tobacco to underage consumers will find the world's largest retailer accepting only valid government-issued photo IDs as proof of age and hiring an independent company for random compliance checks.

Under the agreement, Arkansas attorney general Mike Beebe said about 10 percent of Wal-Mart stores would be checked every six months. In turn, Wal-Mart will submit periodic compliance reports to the attorneys general, who will monitor the company's progress.

In addition, Beebe said Wal-Mart would also:

-Train employees about state and local laws and company policies regarding tobacco sales to minors.

-Check the identification of anyone buying tobacco products that appear to be under 27 years of age.

-Use cash registers programmed to prompt ID checks on all tobacco sales.

-Prohibit self-service displays of tobacco products, tobacco vending machines, and distributions of free tobacco samples on store property.

-Prohibit the sale of smoking paraphernalia to minors.

Attorneys general have engaged other companies, including Exxon, Amoco, BP, and Walgreens, in similar agreements, said Beebe's spokesman, Matt DeCample.

Besides Arkansas, the states participating in the agreement include Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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