Lawmakers Urge Drug Store Chains To Stop Carrying Tobacco Products
It’s been nearly three months since CVS announced it was phasing out the sale of tobacco products in its stores, and so far no other major drug store chain has followed suit. So today, a dozen members of Congress, led by Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, called on these retailers to put an end to their part in the sale of cigarettes and other items containing tobacco.
Pallone, Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, along with 11 other members of the committee, sent a letter (full text below) to Steven Anderson, President and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, asking the trade group to urge its member retailers to stop selling tobacco products.
CVS, the nation’s largest drug store retailer in terms of annual sales, plans to have these products off its shelves permanently by October of this year. In announcing its decision, the company stated that it will likely give up around $2 billion a year in revenue, but that the sale of tobacco products was “inconsistent with our purpose” as a store intended to provide health care products to consumers.
In spite of pressure from a group of more than two dozen attorneys general and numerous advocacy groups, other drug store retailers like Walgreens have not announced any plans to quit selling tobacco.
Walgreens has only stated that it is “evaluating” the sale of tobacco products, while also continuing to be involved in a smoking cessation partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, the drug company that holds the U.S. license on Nicorette products.