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Hey, Smokers: Should Walmart, Walgreens and Others Stop Selling Cigarettes Alongside Healthcare Wares?

Attorneys general in 28 states believe so. What do you think? Vote in our Chicago-area poll.

Prominent cigarette displays in a Walmart. | Credit to anti-smoking advocacy site badadvertising.org
Prominent cigarette displays in a Walmart. | Credit to anti-smoking advocacy site badadvertising.org

Should local retailers that sell health-related goods stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products?

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 27 of her fellow attorneys general across the country believe so, and earlier this month sent the CEOs of Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Safeway and Kroger a letter urging them to stop.

The letter reads, in part: "There is a contradiction in having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services health care needs. The availability of such products in a retail store that also serves as a pharmacy normalizes tobacco use; furthermore, selling tobacco products in the same store as smoking-cessation products is likely to increase impulse tobacco purchases among those trying to quit and undermines their efforts. In a recent year, nearly 70 percent of smokers said they wanted to quit; however, only approximately 4 percent were able to do so."

In February, CVS Caremark Corp, No. 2 in American drugstore sales after Walgreens, said it would stop selling tobacco at its 7,600 stores, including 138 CVS outlets in Illinois, by Oct. 1. In 2006, Madigan and other attorneys general compelled CVS and other retailers to impose stricter screening to prevent minors from buying cigarettes in their stores.

The move by CVS is a signal that it's becoming more of a healthcare provider — offering mini clinics and advice alongside pharmacy services — and less of a retailer reports the  New York Times.

What do you think? It's one thing to try to stop retailers from selling cigarettes to minors. But you're an adult. Are they going too far? Or is this a good public health move?

Mike Es. March 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Just saying that stores are not REQUIRED to sell anything. They can choose to sell whatever they want. And I'm not sure I want groceries from Menards! :-p
Mike Es. March 30, 2014 at 12:16 PM
Maybe we can make up the tax my LEGALIZING MARIJUANA!
Marie MANCERA March 30, 2014 at 08:46 PM
Already, there is TOO MUCH Government interference in the private life of us Americans, why don this gov agents worry about schools, high taxes, etc. Ms. Madigan has a lot of nerve asking for stores to stop selling cigarettes, at the time the state is legalizing marihuana, Cook county is the highest tax in the state, etc.etc.
karen erickson March 31, 2014 at 08:29 AM
If they're gonna ban tobacco products, they should also ban junk food & pop along with alcohol!
WompBomp June 13, 2014 at 04:42 PM
I hope they stop selling them. More revenue to gas stations, which are where most competent people buy smokes.

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