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Attorneys General Ask Major Retailers to End Sales of Tobacco Products

Update Date: Mar 17, 2014 01:36 PM EDT
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The tobacco industry could lose even more sales after attorneys general from 28 states and territories urged five major retailers to stop selling tobacco products. The attorneys argue that since these retailers, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreen Co., Rite Aid Corp., Safeway Inc., and Kroger Co., have a pharmacy section, the stores should adopt an overall healthier image by removing all tobacco products.

"Pharmacies and drugstores, which increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated according to the Wall Street Journal.

Schneiderman added, reported by the New York Times, "The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a back seat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country."

The attorneys general's letter sent to the chief executives of these five companies was headed by Schneiderman and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine. The letter did not state that any legal actions would be taken if these five retailers did not comply with the Attorneys General's recommendation. The letter also did not address electronic cigarettes and nicotine products.

"My fellow Attorneys General and I are asking these national retailers to take an additional step forward in keeping tobacco products away from youth by voluntarily not selling them in their stores with pharmacies," Attorney General DeWine said in a press release. "The health of our kids is just too important."

The letter praised CVS Caremark Corp.'s recent decision to stop selling tobacco products and used CVS's decision as an example that these companies could follow. CVS announced early this year that it plans on removing all tobacco products from its stores by October.

"Their decision to stop selling tobacco products in their pharmacies is a courageous, right-minded, smart decision," said Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "We're hoping it becomes a trend."

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