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Fewer retail chains stocking cigarettes

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SAN FRANCISCO A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed a ban forbidding drug stores from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products and the proposal seems to be gaining popularity with Northern California government, as well as across the nation.

Newsom said he was confident that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would approve his legislation to ban tobacco product sales from drug stores this month or in June. The proposed ban would then go into effect Oct. 1. Similar bills are now pending in states like Illinois, New Hampshire and Tennessee. A proposed bill in New York covers not only all pharmacies, but also big box stores, like Wal-Mart.

New York assemblyman, Sam Hoyt, indicated that it didn’t make sense for drug stores, places designed to promote health and wellness, should stock cigarettes. “It just seems inappropriate that on the other hand, they sell something that kills,” he said.

The majority of U.S. pharmacies no longer stock tobacco products. But many drug stores currently dominate the market.

That is changing lately, however, as more and more retailers are deciding not to sell tobacco products. Target stopped carrying tobacco products in 1996, Wegmans ended its sale of the products in February, and New York-based Budwey’s and DeCicco Family Markets, have followed suit as well.

So far in San Francisco, locally-based Andronico’s stopped carrying tobacco products in February, and a number of San Francisco-area ShopRites ended their tobacco sales in March.

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