Assurances of Voluntary Compliance regarding Underage Tobacco Sales
Kansas law prohibits sales of tobacco products to persons under age 18. K.S.A.§ 79-3321(l). An Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) is an agreement between the State and a company whereby the company agrees to adhere to certain standards and practices to help reduce the number of tobacco sales to minors.
AVCs are 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.
The terms of each AVC vary depending upon the agreeing parties' negotiations, but usually contain the following requirements:
Companies agree to:
- Advertising - Companies agree to refrain from using advertising that targets youth.
- Candy Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Look-Alike Products - Companies agree to refrain from selling candy cigarettes and other tobacco look-alike products.
- Equipment - Companies agree to install and use cash registers that require store clerks to enter the birth date of the customer before completing the sale.
- Franchises - Companies agree to provide franchisees with opportunities to participate in the monitoring and enforcement programs, and other tobacco retailing programs.
- Monitoring and Enforcement Programs - Companies agree to use an independent agency to perform unannounced compliance checks on company stores. These unannounced visits are often referred to as "mystery shopper" programs.
- Hiring Policies - Companies agree not to hire anyone under 18 for positions that involve selling tobacco products.
- Placement of Cigarettes within Store - Companies agree to prohibit the use of vending machines on store premises, and to store and display tobacco products in an area that requires employee assistance in retrieving them.
- Training Policies - Companies agree to provide comprehensive training for each new employee about the law and company policy regarding underage sales; many AVCs require companies to test employees on company policy and underage sales laws prior to selling and again on an annual basis.
The Attorney General, on behalf of the State of Kansas, agrees to:
- Release and Resolution of Claims - The attorney general agrees to refrain from prosecuting consumer protection claims against the company for sales to minors prior to the effective date.
This provision, however, does not prevent the attorney general or other law enforcement entities from enforcing the law for violations that occur after the AVC becomes effective.
The State of Kansas is currently party to nine multi-state agreements that cover convenience stores operating under the7-Eleven, BP North America, Circle K Stores and Mac's Convenience Stores, Conoco, Phillips 66 or 76, Exxon, Mobil, Shell, and Valero brand names, and retail and pharmacy chains Kroger, Walgreens, CVS, and Wal-Mart. The full text of the AVCs to which the State of Kansas is a party may be accessed by clicking on the any of the companies listed above.
Other Tobacco-Related Assurances of Voluntary Compliance
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Assurance of Voluntary Compliance Regarding Organic Tobacco
Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company agrees to place health disclaimers on all advertisements for organic tobacco.
Santa Fe Natural Agreement to End Illegal Distribution of Name Brand Merchandise
Settlement with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company for violating the Master Settlement Agreement by distributing decorative tin signs to customers.