Major Retailers Asked to Stop Selling Tobacco Products, Like CVS

Image: Major Retailers Asked to Stop Selling Tobacco Products, Like CVS

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 06:46 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A bipartisan group of attorneys general from 28 states sent letters asking major retailers like Wal-Mart and Kroger to stop selling tobacco products, following the example set recently by CVS.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is fronting the national effort to reach out to retailers to stop “normalizing” the sale of tobacco products, his office said in a press release.

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“Pharmacies and drug stores, which increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products,” Schneiderman said in the release. “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. I urge these companies to do the right thing and remove tobacco products from store shelves.”

In a letter to Kroger posted on Schneiderman’s New York AG website, he and other attorneys general said, “The normalization and easy availability of tobacco products represent a significant threat to youth, who are particularly susceptible to social and environmental encouragements to use tobacco. Moreover, the sale of tobacco products in retail chains weakens the effect of media campaigns whose objective is to de-normalize the use of tobacco products.”

CVS announced in early February that it would pull tobacco products from its shelves, moving into becoming more of a healthcare provider. CVS made the decision despite the fact that doing so will cut retail sales by an estimated $2 billion.

Pointing out that tobacco-related disease is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, the attorneys general played off of the CVS decision to appeal to other large chains that currently sell cigarettes and other tobacco products alongside health products.

For Schneiderman, keeping tobacco away from young kids in New York is an important mission. Leading the state’s Tobacco Compliance Bureau, he has cracked down during his tenure on websites that sell cigarettes, making it easy for teens to obtain them.

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