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Cigarettes Tobacco Reviews and News

Albany County Proposes Ban of Cigarettes in Pharmacies

May 25th, 2011 by Isabela Mayer

cheap chesterfield cigarettesIt’s a push in Albany County to keep tobacco products and chesterfield cigarettes out of pharmacies and out of any retailer with a pharmacy inside, including grocery stores. A public hearing was held Tuesday night over the proposed law, with those in support saying tobacco should not be in a pharmacy, a place that is usually associated with good health.

“It’s a sin to sell tobacco in pharmacies,” says Debbie Keefe.

Keefe was a smoker for 27 years. By the time she decided to quit, she was smoking two and a half packs of cigarettes a day.

She now helps others try and kick the habit, but is troubled by the fact that cigarettes are still sold in pharmacies, where nicotine patches and gum are also sold.

“I’m sending them right back into the places where they buy their cigarettes,” says Keefe.

That’s the main arguing point for people in support of banning them from pharmacies in Albany county.

Some have already made the plunge, Marra’s Pharmacy in Cohoes hasn’t sold tobacco in more than 20 years.

“Although tobacco products are legal, they do carry some health risks,” says owner John McDonald III. “And those are some things we took into consideration when we banned them.”

But there were two sides to the story during a public hearing in Albany, those who are questioning the proposed law say while they do not support tobacco use, it is a legal product and cannot be banned everywhere, including grocery stores with pharmacies inside.

“They’re trying to be responsible retailers,” says Michael Rosen of the Food Industry Alliance. “They’ve made it clear that the pharmacists don’t handle tobacco and tobacco is not sold anywhere near the pharmacy. We think it’s a matter of choice for adult consumers.”

“Where do you draw the line where government doesn’t step and regulates everything in the county?” adds Albany County legislator Christine Benedict. “There’s a fine line.”

However, the sponsor of the bill, Wanda Willingham, says the bottomline is simple.

“What is so different with tobacco?” she questions. “What makes tobacco so holy and so alright for people to be able to buy in a pharmacy?”

Willingham says this is going to continue to be an open conversation., with room for some of the wording in the proposal to change. So far, no deadline has been set.


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