EUGENE, Ore. — Major retailers are getting the pressure to pull tobacco products off shelves and it could affect some right here in town.
The Oregon Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, has joined more than two dozen attorneys general in the effort. They’re urging five of the country’s biggest pharmacy retailers to quit selling tobacco products.
The companies include Walgreens, Walmart, Safeway, Rite Aid and Kroger. The officials sent letters saying the chains are sending mixed messages in having tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services health care needs.
Health advocates are applauding the move. “It’s a really important step because it removes access and advertising out of the eyes of the youth. If we prevent youth from smoking by the time they’re 18 years old there is a 75 percent less chance that they’ll ever start smoking,” says Brender Webber with the American Cancer Society.
This comes a month after CVS Pharmacy announced it would stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. In reaction to the letter, spokespeople for the companies say they’re reviewing it.
The letters do not mention any potential legal action if stores refuse to institute the ban, they’re simply urging the retailers to follow CVS’s lead. The letters do not address the sale of electronic cigarettes.