Major Retail Pharmacies Get Pressure from Several U.S. Attorneys General to Stop the Sale of Tobacco

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After CVS announced it would stop the sale of tobacco products at its stores, the pressure is on for other retailers to follow suit. A ...

Big retail stores with pharmacies are getting pressure from 28 U.S. attorneys general to follow the suit of CVS in discontinuing the sale of tobacco products. Those under pressure include Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger. CVS announced in February that it would end the sale of tobacco products at its stores by the end of the year.

The group of 28 U.S. attorneys general, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, urged pharmacies indicating that stores providing health care services should not be selling tobacco products that are harmful to people’s health.

Pharmacies and drug stores are marketing themselves as a source for community health care, but they “send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products,” according to Attorney General Schneiderman. “The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a backseat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country.”

A letter by the group of U.S. attorneys general was sent out on Sunday to each of the retailer’s chief executive officers.

The effort by the group of attorneys general also seeks to help keep tobacco products away from youths.

While more recently, there’s also been pressure to stop the advertising of e-cigarettes to youth, the letter does not mention electronic cigarettes, which Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kroger and Rite-Aid sells.

Tobacco-related disease is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths in the last year alone – more than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drug use, car accidents and firearm-related deaths combined.  Since 1965, more than 20 million Americans have died prematurely as a result of smoking. The devastating health effects of these tobacco products have been well documented for more than 50 years, since the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on the health consequences of smoking.

[Source: Attorney General Eric Schneiderman]

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