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?