Retailers Get Official Letter: 'Don't Sell Cigarettes'
Attorneys general urge major retailers to stop selling smokes
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2014 3:30 PM CDT
This Sept. 14, 2005 file photo shows packs of cigarettes in a store in Brunswick, Maine.   (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)

(Newser) – Five of America's major retailers received a letter yesterday urging them to do one thing: stop selling cigarettes. Written by a group of attorneys general, the letter asked Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Safeway, and Walgreen to follow CVS's lead and pull tobacco products from the shelves entirely, NPR reports. Ohio's Mike DeWine and New York's Eric Schneiderman led the bipartisan charge of attorneys general from 28 states, including Arizona and Illinois. "There is a contradiction in having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services health care needs," they wrote.

They noted that at least 480,000 Americans died from tobacco-related disease in 2013, and tobacco use drains the US economy of $289 billion annually in productivity and health-care costs. The letter didn't threaten legal action, but an insider tells the New York Times that reform or litigation may follow if stores don't play ball. No word from the stores yet, but none of them showed interest in following CVS's lead last month. Walgreen said only that it had a program to help people quit smoking, and Kroger said its adult customers had a right to choose their own products. (See how CVS's move could affect smoking rates.)

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Mar 20, 2014 7:02 AM CDT
The march toward fascism continues unabated in America.
Joanne Bilodeau
Mar 18, 2014 9:13 PM CDT
Canadian provinces and territories began banning the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies about 20 years ago followed by banning the sale of cigarettes in grocery stores and the requirement that corner stores completely hide cigarettes from customers' view. Although Ontario was the first to ban cigarettes in pharmacies in 1994, other jurisdictions took years to follow suit. Nonetheless, Smoking Prevalence from 1985 to 2012 for Canadians Aged 15 Years and Older, Youth Aged 15-19, and Young Adults Aged 20-24 has gone down drastically in Canada. Good for you CVS ! You're on the right track !
Lakeshia Davis
Mar 18, 2014 8:01 PM CDT
The "men" among them should receive letters asking them to remove their male parts. It is inconsistent to be men and fall for such PC thinking.