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Shell, 46 States and DC, to Curb Youth Tobacco Sales

 Bloomberg 

By Andrew Harris

Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) — Shell Oil Products U.S., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, agreed with the attorneys general of 46 states and the District of Columbia to help curb sales of tobacco products to minors at about 13,000 gas stations.

“By preventing a teen from smoking, we can protect the health of the next generation,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said today in a statement. Under the agreement, Shell will pay the states $100,000 for costs incurred in their probe.

Motiva Enterprises LLC, a Houston-based oil refiner with operations in the southeastern U.S., also is joining the accord, Madigan said. The company is owned jointly by Saudi Refining Inc. and Shell Oil Co., another unit of The Hague, Netherlands- based Royal Dutch Shell.

Shell will adopt new procedures to reduce cigarette sales to minors, according to the statement. The participating states include California, New York, Texas, Florida, Colorado and New Jersey. The District of Columbia is also a signatory.

“Shell and Motiva have agreed to adopt procedures designed to communicate the importance of reducing sales of cigarettes to minors,” the companies said in an e-mailed statement.

More than 2,000 people under age 18 start smoking every day, Madigan said in her statement. As many as one-third of them will die from a tobacco-related disease, she said.

“Smoking remains a serious public health problem in our country and we need to do everything possible to keep young people from picking up the habit,” California Attorney General Jerry Brown said today in a statement.

Training, Spot Checks

Under the accord, retail stores located at the stations will be required to tell the oil company if tobacco products are being sold to people who are too young to legally buy them. Employees will receive training on the health risks faced by underage smokers, and Shell will conduct periodic spot checks to ensure compliance, said Brown.

The four states that didn’t participate in the settlement were Indiana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., 7-Eleven Inc. and Walgreen Co. are among other retailers that have joined in multistate agreements to prevent tobacco sales to the young, the attorneys general said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Harris at the federal court in Chicago at [email protected].

Last Updated: October 8, 2008 17:19 EDT

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