Tenn. AG stops sale of loosies

Keith Loria Jan. 13, 2011, 3:53pm


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper announced on Thursday that two retailers have agreed to stop selling single cigarettes to underage minors.

M&J Market, located in Nashville, and Western Drive-In Market, located in Springfield, agreed to abide by a series of regulations that would stop customers from purchasing single cigarettes, also referred to as "loosies." Both retailers had allegedly sold single cigarettes in the past.

Because the price of single cigarettes is about 25 cents each, younger people are believed to be more attracted to smoking because it is more affordable. Selling single cigarettes, however, is a violation of the Minimum Pack Size Act and is illegal in the state.

"It is important that tobacco retailers understand that selling single cigarettes is against the law," Cooper said. "We will continue to prosecute those tobacco retailers who ignore the law by continuing to sell single cigarettes after we've warned them not to do so."

Cooper's office sent warning letters to 23 tobacco retailers in September 2009 trying to curtail the sale of "loosies." Those that received letters were all subjects of complaints that the Department of Agriculture had received about the sale of single cigarettes.

Both of the tobacco sellers agreed to instruct their clerks about the laws surrounding selling single cigarettes and ensure that they are checking identification for all tobacco customers. Furthermore, the two retailers are required to implement a test shopping program to stop any future single cigarette sales from occurring.

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