Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Purpose of this blog

First of all, credit to Paul Harvey for popularizing the concept that there is usually more to a story than what first meets the eye. 

My name is Phil Sisneros, as Director of Communications, postings to this blog will primarily be my responsibility. Occasionally, however, someone else from our Communications Division staff will post information.

The purpose of this blog is simple; to expand upon, clarify, and provide correct information about the NM Attorney General's Office (AGO) that may also appear in  media sources such as television, radio, newspaper, blogs, etc. Often, there is more to know about the activities of this office than is typically reported by the mainstream media due to their time and space limitations or editorial purposes. We also invite readers to visit the Attorney General's Office website for detailed information about the services offered by and the duties of this public agency. This blog is just another alternative source for getting the rest of the story.

For example, yesterday the AGO put out a News release about an agreement that was signed by AG King and most of the other AGs around the country. The agreement called for Circle K corporation and its franchise stores to adopt policies that help eliminate tobacco product sales to minors in New Mexico and 31 states, plus the District of Columbia.

We did not have space in the news release to list all the policies that are expected to be put into effect by Circle K, but we have space here:

The Assurance of Voluntary Compliance agreement includes the following terms (among others):

• ID must be checked on all persons who appear to be under 30, to protect against mistakes by clerks in evaluating a person’s age by their appearance alone.

• In-store advertising of tobacco must be limited in ways intended to reduce the effect on young people, and outdoor advertising is to be eliminated at stores within 500 feet of playgrounds or schools.

• Employee training will focus on the mechanics of eliminating underage tobacco sales, and will also emphasize the serious health issues that give rise to the legal efforts to restrict youth access to tobacco.

• Circle K will test itself on the effectiveness of its own safeguards against underage sales by conducting “mystery shopper” compliance checks at 500 of its stores every six months.

• Circle K voluntarily agreed to pay the attorneys general a total of $225,000 to be used for such purposes as consumer education, public protection, or the implementation of programs protecting against tobacco use by minors.

The agreement also notes that the great majority of adult smokers started before they reached eighteen; that young people show signs of addiction after smoking only a few cigarettes; and that the younger a person begins to smoke the more likely he or she will be unable to quit and will suffer from a tobacco-related disease.

That's the Rest of the AGO Story for now. More coming soon.

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