The country's largest grocery store chain has reached an agreement with 41 state attorneys general and will implement measures aimed at preventing sales of tobacco products to minors.
Kroger Co. will require its franchises to report violations to its corporate offices and modify its franchise agreements so that a franchise that violates youth access laws might lose its agreement.
"My colleagues and I have long recognized that youth access to products is a serious issue," Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said. "This agreement with Kroger Co. demonstrates a growing commitment to restrict such access and to protect our nation's children."
It is the 11th in a line of similar agreements, which include 7-Eleven, CBS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Rite Aid stores, Conoco, Phillips 66, 76, Exxon, Mobil, BP, Amoco, ARCO and Chevron.
The agreements cover more than 80,000 retail outlets. Kroger has 2,468 supermarkets in 31 states and 779 convenience stores in 15 states.
State attorneys general have a long history of attempting to curb the tobacco industry. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 was reached with 46 states and six territories provided annual payments from tobacco companies as reimbursement for state Medicaid programs.
According to a report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, trial lawyers hired to negotiate on behalf of the states earned $13 billion. The settlement was worth a total of $246 billion.
Another recent crusade by state attorneys general resulted in the presence of cigarettes in movies affecting their ratings.