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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Inadvertently, convenience retailers in the state could benefit from less tobacco sales competition in the state with the introduction of a bill by assemblyman Sam Hoyt (D-Buffalo), which would ban sales of tobacco products at any pharmacy.
"In light of the overwhelming evidence of the harmful nature of cigarette smoking on one's health and the astronomical public health costs posed by tobacco products, it is contradictory and counterintuitive to sell such products in an establishment whose purpose is to provide remedies to health problems," Hoyt said in a statement. "Smoking and use of other tobacco products is a major health crisis that we must all take responsibility for addressing. My bill will help ensure that pharmacies are not hindered in that effort by the proximate availability of tobacco products."
The bill would prohibit the sale of tobacco products in stand-alone pharmacies or any establishment that contains a pharmacy. Convenience stores or retailers that stock only nonprescription medications would not be affected by the bill, according to the report.
In addition, Hoyt called for two retailers, Tops Food Markets and Wal-Mart to follow the actions of the grocery chain Wegmans, which recently discontinued the sale of tobacco products based on its health impacts.
However, Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), told CSNews Online there were larger issues the state government should be focusing on.
"The bigger issue for us is that we would rather the state of New York place no further restrictions on where tobacco products can legally be sold," said Calvin. "We'd rather the state focus on where tobacco products are currently being illegally sold without the collection of tax, without a state license and without monitoring to detect underage sales, specifically at Native American stores, Internet vendors and bootleggers. To us, that is a far greater concern than whether someone can buy a pack of cigarettes in a drugstore."