Walgreens, Rite Aid adopt 21-plus tobacco sales policies

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Walgreens, Rite Aid adopt 21-plus tobacco sales policies

The two major drug chains still selling tobacco products this past week took moves to restrict who can purchase the products in their stores. Walgreens and Rite Aid, within hours of other, each announced plans to limit tobacco sales to consumers ages 21 years old and older in an effort aimed at curbing underage tobacco use.

“We’ve seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations. “Through ongoing training and certification for pharmacists and technicians, we also continue to help and support people looking to quit the use of tobacco in their lives.”

In March, Walgreens said it welcomed a meeting with Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb about its approach to preventing tobacco sales to minors following a letter from the agency about violations from certain stores.

Rite Aid’s plan coincides with its previously announced plan to remove e-cigarettes and vaping products from all of its stores.

“Raising the age for purchasing tobacco products is an important step in our efforts to ensure that these products do not fall into the hands of children and teens,” Rite Aid CEO Bryan Everett said. “Our decision is directly related to research from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that shows over 80 percent of adult smokers smoked their first cigarette before they turned 18, and nearly 95 percent started before age 21. By raising the purchase age, we are furthering our commitment to promoting responsible access to tobacco products.”

Both companies noted that the efforts are in addition to their commitment to asking for IDs on all age-restricted purchases.