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NY Bill Would Restrict Drug Store Cigarette Sales

cig.jpgNew York could be the first state to ban the sale of cigarettes in drug stores as well as in supermarkets and big-box stores like Wal-Mart that have pharmacies.

Measures similar to the bill gaining ground in New York have already been enacted in cities such as San Francisco and Boston, in towns and in parts of Canada. But the bill in Albany would be the first statewide ban, according to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, a Buffalo Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.

Supporters and opponents say the ban would likely lead to further measures to stop the sale of tobacco products.

“They are incrementalists,” said Audrey Silk of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment.

“How dare they decide what a company’s message is and what they can sell based on the message they determined,” Silk said. “It’s socialism.”

She argued the measure wouldn’t reduce sales, but instead force smokers to go to gas stations and other retailers that don’t also offer smoke cessation products along side them as pharmacies do now.

“Health care and cigarettes don’t mix,” said Russ Sciandra of the Center for a Tobacco Free New York. “Obviously it’s going to provoke opposition from some powerful forces, but I think like a lot of issues we work on, this is coming sooner or later and let’s do it sooner.”

David Sutton of Altria Client Services, part of the parent company of Philip Morris USA, complains that the bill unfairly restricts tobacco products. “We’re being singled out as a class,” Sutton said. “It’s a legal product.”

Hoyt, who said he has smoked on and off much of his life, noted some supermarket chains such as Wegmans and some small chains voluntarily stopped selling tobacco products and the trend is already underway.

“Others are putting profits over doing the right thing and the health of their customers,” Hoyt said. “If I was a betting man, I’d predict within about five years this will be the standard.”

The measure, if approved by both chambers and signed by Democratic Gov. David Paterson, would ban sales of cigarettes in pharmacies and retail stores with pharmacies within them. A store could sell tobacco products if a wall and separate entrance was provided for the pharmacy.

Earlier this month, New York’s Legislature rejected a proposal to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets.

(Source: Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin)

5 Responses

  1. Cigarettes are destructive to the guf and go against all health principles Yiddin believe in. It is ironic that Cigarettes are being sold in Pharmacies and Drug Stores when the purpose of these places is to sell products that enhance or improve ones health. To restrict their sale at these places would be a good thing. There are too many people who have died from Lung Cancer, Heart Attacks, Pulmonary Diseases and the list continues thanks to the effects of Smoking. I have little sympathy for Tobacco Companies who are upset at the potential of lost income.

  2. This is a foolish law. What’s the diff where the cancer stix are sold?! Is this the only “stira” in the pharmacy?

    Here’s one:

    With a prescription, you could get drugs (i.e., hormones) in order to get pregnant. They also sell certain items which dont allow pregnancy. Why is that not a contradiction??????

  3. 1. That may reduce tax revenues if it increases “bootlegging” or reduces smoking overall. It also may result in increased costs for pension plans and social security (smoking usually kills people before they collect their pensions, which from a fiscal perspective is a good idea, especially if the person dies after their children turn 18).

    2. If a ban on sales is only at certain stores, that will amplify sales at those merchants who still sell cigarettes, who will surely repay the favor with campaign contributions (which is worse: “second hand smoke” or “hand in pocket politicians”?

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