28 state attorneys general asks pharmacies to pull tobacco products

A group of attorneys general from 28 states sent letters to the country's largest pharmacy retailers asking them to stop telling tobacco products. (3/17/14)

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WOODBURY - After pharmacy chain CVS announced it will pull cigarettes and other tobacco products from its shelves, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others are asking more pharmacies to follow suit.

A group of attorneys general from 28 states sent letters to the country's largest pharmacy retailers asking them to stop telling tobacco products. Among the recipients are Wal-mart, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Rite Aid, Safeway and Kroger stores.

Schneiderman says selling tobacco sends a mixed message to consumers. "The fact that these stores profit from the sale of tobacco products is completely inconsistent with their efforts to expand their role as health care providers," he says.

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CVS announced earlier this year that it will stop selling tobacco on Oct. 1. Its CEO says that while the company stands to lose close to $2 billion in sales, he believes it's the right decision.

Schneiderman says he hopes other pharmacies will agree. "The hard part was getting one chain to do it," he says. "Once CVS broke through the barrier, I think the others will have to follow."

The letters sent by the attorneys general did not mention any legal action if the drug stores don't comply. News 12 Long Island reached out to Walgreens for comment, and a spokesman said the company is reviewing the letter.

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