28 AGs Call on Retailers to Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Schneiderman, DeWine head up effort asking drug store chains to follow lead of CVS

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

Eric Schneiderman

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has joined Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in leading an effort to persuade the largest pharmacy chains in the United States to stop selling tobacco products. Led by Schneiderman and DeWine, the attorneys general of 28 states and territories have written to the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger, asking them to remove any and all tobacco products from their shelves.

In addition, 32 attorneys general have commended drug store chain CVS Caremark for its recent decision to stop selling tobacco in its stores.

CVS Caremark's decision in early February to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by Oct. 1 made it the first drug chain to ban tobacco sales and the first major retailer to do so since Target stopped selling cigarettes in 1996. The move is expected to cost the drug giant $2 billion in revenues.

"Pharmacies and drug stores, which increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products," said Schneiderman. "The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a backseat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country. I urge these companies to do the right thing and remove tobacco products from store shelves."

"My fellow attorneys general and I are asking these national retailers to take an additional step forward in keeping tobacco products away from youth by voluntarily not selling them in their stores with pharmacies," DeWine said. "The health of our kids is just too important."

Click here to read the full letter to Walgreens, which is representative of all the letters.