Circle K Stores Restrict Youth Access to Tobacco
PHOENIX, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Circle K today became the first national convenience retailer to announce a program to voluntarily restrict access by minors to tobacco products with the introduction of a specially-designed full service display unit that
Circle K became the first national convenience retailer to implement a program to voluntarily restrict access by minors to tobacco products with the display unit that puts cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco out of the reach of customers.``Putting tobacco products out of reach is part of our ongoing effort to prevent the sale of tobacco products to minors,'' said Robert J. Lavinia, president and chief executive officer of Tosco Marketing Company, which owns the Circle K chain. ``Each of our sales associates has received specialized training and education to help ensure that minors don't get tobacco products at our stores,'' said Lavinia as he unveiled a prototype of the behind-the- counter tobacco storage and display unit to be installed in all Circle K convenience stores nationwide. ``This could not have been done without the cooperation of the major tobacco companies.''
``We believe that giving our customer service representatives greater control over access to tobacco products will help eliminate unlawful purchases. In addition to requiring individuals who appear to be under the age of 30 to provide a photo ID, we believe that having customers ask for the items discourages minors from attempting to purchase them,'' Lavinia added.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was on hand for the unveiling, said, ``Tosco and Circle K have taken an important step toward keeping tobacco out of the hands of children by instituting this approach to responsible tobacco retailing.''
The prototype unveiled today in Arizona will soon be installed in all 2100 Circle K Stores in 18 states by mid-2000.
``Tosco Marketing and Circle K stores are to be commended for taking the initiative in implementing a new in-store system to help keep tobacco out of the hands of our nation's children,'' said Arpaio. ``My hope is that this innovative system becomes the industry standard for the responsible sale of tobacco products, and that more retailers throughout the country follow Circle K's lead.''
The display is just one of the company's innovative programs leading the industry in addressing concerns regarding youngsters and tobacco. Last year, Circle K became the first national convenience retailer to send all its site managers through a ``We Card'' training class. ``We Card'' is a comprehensive education effort by the Coalition for Responsible Tobacco Retailing. Tosco worked with the Coalition to develop a customized training program for all Circle K managers and sales associates and equip them with the tools needed to best understand and handle this issue, including a calendar that reduces the chance of error in calculating age and methods for avoiding conflict when refusing a sale. Tosco also employs interactive computer-based training methods for new Circle K employees and compliance checks conducted by ``mystery shoppers'' in stores.
``The decision to redesign the way tobacco products are stored and displayed is part of our continued commitment to market these products in a manner that addresses legitimate concerns about young people and tobacco, while maintaining the level of service and convenience to consumers who want to purchase a legal product,'' Lavinia said. ``Tosco is working to create an industry standard for responsible retailing of tobacco products through a full-service tobacco program.''
Tosco Marketing Company is the Phoenix-based retail division of the Tosco Corporation, and is responsible for the marketing of a family of well-known convenience store and gasoline brands including Circle K, the Official Pit Stop of NASCAR, and 76, the Official Fuel of NASCAR.