Thursday, September 11, 2008

Walgreens seeks to stop S.F. tobacco ban

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
Attorneys for Walgreens are seeking an emergency injunction to stop San Francisco from banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.

In July, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies such as Walgreens and Rite Aid, saying sick people getting their prescriptions filled shouldn't be faced with cancer-causing products sitting nearby.

But the ban, which is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, doesn't extend to grocery stores or big-box stores that also have pharmacies. That's why the company wants the plan stopped, said Walgreens spokeswoman Tiffani Bruce.

"Our position is based solely on being fair across different types of retailers," she said, noting that smokers will just buy their cigarettes at another store down the block.

"Our pharmacists are trained to counsel smokers on smoking cessation products and how to go about kicking their habit," she added. "This ordinance will discourage smokers from coming to a place where they can have this type of access."

But Mitch Katz, director of the city's Department of Public Health, wasn't buying Walgreens' logic. ..more

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