Maryland was among
the first Attorneys General to sue the United States' tobacco companies,
alleging conspiracy, fraud, and antitrust and consumer protection law violations
and the targeting of children in its advertising. Since the 1998 settlement, an estimated 13.5 percent fewer
Maryland children have access to tobacco products. Attorney General Douglas F.
Gansler continues to make this issue a major priority of his Office:
2006: Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced that
Lorillard Tobacco Co. ("Lorillard”) has agreed to implement new measures to
prevent the illegal sale of its cigarettes over the Internet and through the
mail. These protocols are being adopted nationwide and voluntarily by Lorillard
pursuant to an agreement reached with 33 Attorneys General across the country. A
similar agreement was reached with Philip Morris USA in January. "Internet sales
of cigarettes can and do harm kids,” said General Curran. "Most internet age
verification systems are inadequate, and without that critical safeguard it is
much more difficult to keep cigarettes out of the hands of kids. Studies show
however, the longer we keep those cigarettes out of kids hands, the better the
chance they will NOT become lifetime smokers.” Read the Press Release.
2006: Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., announced that he has
helped lead Attorneys General of 42 other states and the District of Columbia in
an agreement with CVS Pharmacy,
Inc. under which the nation's largest drug store chain will implement new
procedures to reduce sales of cigarettes to minors at its more than 5400 retail
stores. "This is a fight we must keep fighting; every day we steer a child away
from smoking is a public health victory for the state of Maryland,” said
Attorney General Curran.
2005: Attorney General Curran announced that he
had written a letter, joined by 31 other Attorneys General, asking Hollywood's
major motion picture studios to insert an anti-smoking public service
announcement in DVD, video and UMD movies that depict smoking. Attorney General
Curran wrote to Paramount Pictures, Walt
Disney Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Fox Filmed
Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Miramax, Dreamworks and New Line
2005: Attorney General Curran announced agreement with national
convenience store chain, and nation's largest tobacco retailer, 7-Eleven, to
reduce youth access to cigarettes in 7-Eleven's stores. Press release and Agreement. The Attorney General also has negotiated
similar youth access to tobacco agreements with Rite Aid (Sept. 2004),
Walmart's/Sam's Club (Sept. 2003), BP Amoco (Dec. 2002), Exxon/Mobil (Aug. 2002)
and Walgreens (Feb. 2002).
2004: Attorney General Curran announced a landmark settlement with R.J.
Reynolds, in which the cigarette manufacturer agreed to significant restrictions
on future "Kool Mixx" promotions and also agreed to pay $1.46 million to be used
for youth smoking prevention. Read the Press
release and Settlement
2004: Attorney General Curran announced he had sued the maker of Kool
cigarettes for targeting youth with a hip-hop advertising campaign. Press release
2004: The Attorney General testified before Congress on his recent
findings regarding the depiction of smoking in the movies and its effect on
children. Press release
2003: Attorney General Curran announced that entertainment industry
executives are willing to work cooperatively to address the issue of depictions
of smoking in the movies. Press
2003: Attorney General Curran announced a settlement with the operators
of the website www.dirtcheapcig.com prohibiting them from selling cigarettes
over the Internet. Press release
2003: Attorney General Curran announced that he had written to the
Motion Picture Association calling for a reduction in smoking in the movies.
2003: The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division charged the
the operators of a Web site with selling cigarettes to minors and failing to
comply with Maryland cigarette tax and licensing laws. Press release
13, 2002: Attorney General Curran announced a landmark agreement with
national drugstore chain Walgreens designed to reduce youth access to cigarettes
in Walgreens' stores. Press release. The
Attorney General has also negotiated youth access to tobacco agreements with BP
Amoco (December 2002) and Exxon/Mobil (August 2002).
10, 2001: Attorney General Curran attended the opening of the Legal
Resource Center for Tobacco Regulation, Litigation, and Advocacy at the
University of Maryland School of Law. The center offers legal assistance to
local governments and community groups looking to reduce access to tobacco
products, and the Attorney General's Office will assist with those efforts.
Funding for the center comes from the state's tobacco settlement funds, through
the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Health
Promotion, Education and Tobacco Use Prevention. The Center's website is www.law.umaryland.edu/tobacco.
Its phone number is (410) 706-1129.
2001: Attorney General Curran announced the result of a sting operation
performed by his office to determine the rate at which children under 18 can
purchase cigarettes. A shocking 62 percent of the purchase attempts by the
minors resulted in the illegal sale of cigarettes. Press release
The sting was a
first step in the Attorney General's Program to Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco.
Statistics reveal that each year 12,800 Maryland youth start a smoking habit,
and studies show that the younger a person is when beginning to smoke, the more
likely that person will become a lifelong smoker, unwilling or unable to quit
despite the serious health risks associated with smoking.
General's Office will work with other state agencies and local authorities to
develop a comprehensive enforcement effort to stop the sale of tobacco products
to underage buyers. Also, the Attorney General works with tobacco retailers who
want to adopt policies and practices designed to reduce youth sales. His Office
has created and distributed a brochure, Tobacco Retailer's Guide: Reducing Youth
Access to Tobacco Products.
If you have a
question about the Attorney General's program or would like know how you can
help, or if you are a tobacco retailer who has a question about compliance,
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
410-576-6300 / 1-888-743-0023 toll-free / TDD: 410-576-6372