NEW YORK -- A movement is underway to get other drugstore chains to follow CVS Caremark's lead and pull tobacco products from their shelves.
The attorneys general of 28 states and territories have written to the CEOs of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreen Co., Rite Aid Corp., Safeway Inc. and The Kroger Co., asking them to remove any and all tobacco products from their shelves. Walgreens also operates Duane Reade stores.
In addition, 32 attorneys general have commended CVS Caremark for its recent decision to stop selling tobacco in its stores.
"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 said. "The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a backseat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country. I urge these companies to do the right thing and remove tobacco products from store shelves."
Schneiderman and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine are leading the effort.
"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," DeWine said. "The health of our kids is just too important."
In part, the letter reads:
"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."
To read the full letter, click here.