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Tobacco sales could be phased out at pharmacies

Feb 26, 2019 12:15 am
David Lombardo is reporting for the Times Union legislation is scheduled to begin making its way through the Capitol this week that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, and retailers that operate pharmacies. Municipalities, including New York City and Albany County, have already imposed their own bans, and tobacco products were voluntarily removed from CVS pharmacies in 2014. The proposal is strongly supported by the New York State Association of County Health Officials. The association identified the restriction as the most critical step the state could take concerning retail sales of tobacco. "Tobacco sales in pharmacies raises ethical questions since tobacco is the only consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill at least one half of its long term users," the association wrote in a memorandum of support. "Tobacco companies use health oriented stores such as pharmacies and drug stores as a tactic to legitimize their products and increase exposure to tobacco marketing and advertising." Statewide, there are 25,000 tobacco-related deaths every year, according to the association. The proposed ban is also supported by the American Pharmacists Association, the American Medical Association and the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York. San Francisco was the first municipality to ban tobacco products from pharmacies in 2008. A ban took effect for New York City in January. In 2014, New York was part of a 29-state coalition urging pharmacy chains to remove tobacco products from their shelves. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is hoping to curb youth rates of smoking by raising the age to purchase cigarettes to 21 in New York. Read the full story in the Times Union.