New York City to ban cigarettes sales in pharmacies as of 2019: 500 stores will pull tobacco products on January 1
- 500 pharmacies across the five boroughs will be pulling cigarettes and other tobacco products off its shelves in the New Year
- It’s part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sweeping legislation to drive down smoking rates – which includes raising the base price of cigarettes
- About 860,000 adults and 13,000 high school students smoke in the city, both at their lowest numbers in recorded history
New York City pharmacies will no longer sell cigarettes or other tobacco products as of 2019.
Around 500 stores will be pulling the products from their shelves on Tuesday, January 1, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The ban includes businesses that contain pharmacies, such as supermarkets and big-box stores, reported The Wall Street Journal.
It’s part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s sweeping legislation designed to drastically decrease the rate of smoking.
‘Pharmacies are places of health and should not sell deadly consumer products,’ the mayor’s office said in a statement in 2017 when the bill was signed.
A law signed by New York City Bill de Blasio bans pharmacies from selling cigarettes or other tobacco products in the New Year
Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Sonia Angell says the move will help with the city’s goal of slashing the number of New York smokers by 160,000 over the next three years.
‘It’s important that we make pharmacies places that promote health for those trying to quit and that we reduce exposure so our youth aren’t more likely to start smoking,’ she told The Journal.
CVS Health, the largest pharmacy retail chain in the country, became the first to stop selling tobacco products in its stores in September 2014.
Spokesmen for Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Rite Aid have all promised to observe the ban.
According to the city’s health department, about 860,000 adults and 13,000 high school students smoke.
Both of these numbers are at their lowest levels in recorded history, and several efforts have been led to drive them even lower.
Last year, Mayor de Blasio raised the base price of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13, which makes New York home to the most expensive cigarettes in the US.
Additionally, a number of ads have aired on TV showing former smokers suffering serious health consequences from their previous habit including no voice box, amputations and cancer.
According to health officials, tobacco use – which has been linked to various cancers, heart disease, and strokes – results in 12,000 deaths in New York City every year.
The new rules follow a ban on electronic cigarette sales at pharmacies that took effect in late August.
Not everyone is happy about the ban, however. Al Gentile, the owner of St George Pharmacy in Staten Island, says cigarette sales only bring in $50 a week in profits, but help draw in customers.
‘It does bring people into the pharmacy and they do make other purchases, which they’ll now be making at other stores that are allowed to sell cigarettes,’ Gentile told The Journal.
‘It is a product that people request and should be allowed to purchase if they want to.’
In June, a judge ruled that tobacco companies, including Altria, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard, and Philip Morris USA, must describe their products as ‘deadly’ and ‘addictive’ on their websites.
In the statements, the companies are required discuss the health effects of smoking, nicotine addiction, and the health risks linked to secondhand smoke exposure.