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Retailer Recognition Campaign Officially Launches in Alabama; Unique Approach to Retailer Compliance Focuses on Positive Recognition To Help Prevent Tobacco, Alcohol Sales to Minors in Alabama.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Alabama's retailers, wholesalers and grocers, representing thousands of businesses in the state, have joined forces with The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the national We Card program and the Alabama chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, to launch the Retailer Recognition Campaign: a statewide initiative aimed at reinforcing responsible retailing sales practices. The recently launched program utilizes positive incentives - including distribution of commemorative pins, t-shirts, and other items - as a reward for retail employees who pass compliance checks. These positive reinforcement efforts serve as a supplement to ongoing enforcement and retailer training efforts to help continue to boost retail compliance rates in the state.

"The unique aspect of the Retailer Recognition Campaign is its positive focus on the retailers and employees responsible for enforcing minimum age laws for purchase of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages," said Jan Byrne, education coordinator for the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. "Before this program was created, Alabama's retailers only knew when they failed a compliance test - usually by way of a citation and a fine. It is our hope that rewarding positive behaviors will encourage retail employees to practice responsible retailing and therefore help to increase compliance levels throughout the state."

As an additional incentive, all retail employees who pass compliance checks through the Retailer Recognition Campaign throughout the year will have the opportunity to enter into a grand-prize drawing at the end of the year for a free, four-day cruise on Carnival Cruise Lines.

"I am pleased to see the addition of a positive reinforcement component to ongoing efforts to reduce sales of tobacco and alcohol to minors," said Jim Smotherman, president of the Alabama Grocers Association. "Recognizing and rewarding retail employees for good performance in any area goes a long way toward a healthy employer/employee relationship and it creates a more productive work environment. In terms of reducing underage purchase, I feel this strategy continues the momentum we've been building in the state."

The Retailer Recognition Campaign will be implemented throughout the state on an ongoing basis through the end of the year. Awareness-building campaigns are planned in markets throughout the state to help retailers and wholesalers - as well as the general public - understand the importance of keeping alcohol and tobacco products out of the hands of minors. The Retailer Recognition Campaign is a coalition made up of the following organizations: Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the national We Card program, the Alabama Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Petroleum and Convenience Marketers of Alabama, the Alabama Grocers Association, and the Alabama Retail Association.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 16, 2005
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