Attorneys General call on retail pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products

March 24, 2014

Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden and his colleagues in 27 states and territories are encouraging five of the nation’s largest retail pharmacies to cease selling tobacco products in their stores.

The Attorneys General sent letters to Walgreen Co., Wal-Mart Inc., Safeway Inc., Kroger Co. and Rite Aid Corp, urging them to follow the decision that CVS made last month to stop tobacco-product sales. In the letters, the Attorneys General point out that tobacco-related diseases kill 480,000 people in the United States every year, which is more than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drug use, car accidents and firearms-related deaths combined.

“There is a contradiction in having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services healthcare needs,” Biden and his colleagues wrote in their letter. "The availability of such products in a retail store that also serves as a pharmacy normalizes tobacco use."

The Attorneys General also note that, in recent years, the American Pharmacists Association called on pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products and the American Medical Association approved a resolution opposing the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association have also encouraged pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products.

The elimination of “the sale of tobacco products by retailers who service health care needs and reducing the availability of tobacco products represent important steps in reducing the harm caused by tobacco products in the United States and promoting public health,” the letter says.

The 28 Attorneys General also sent a letter to CVS to congratulate the chain for its February decision to stop selling tobacco products at its stores.

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