Pharmacy tobacco sales ban upheld by San Francisco judge

November 10, 2008

A San Francisco judge denied Philip Morris' request for a temporary restraining order against the ban on pharmacy sales of tobacco products. The ban will affect 52 of 54 Walgreens as well as other chain pharmacies such as Rite-Aid and Longs.

Key Points

A San Francisco judge recently denied Philip Morris' request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented San Francisco city and county officials from enforcing an ordinance stopping some pharmacies from selling tobacco products.

The ordinance, No. 194-08, went into effect Oct. 1. It was introduced by city Mayor Gavin Newsom and is modeled on similar bans in eight Canadian provinces. The board of supervisors passed the legislation on two consecutive eight-to-three votes. The ordinance affects 52 of 54 Walgreens stores in the city. Walgreens' other two stores do not have pharmacy operations and will be allowed to continue tobacco sales. Other chain pharmacies, including Rite-Aid and Longs Drugs, will also have to eliminate their tobacco counters.

Other states to consider similar bans include New Hampshire, Illinois, and Tennessee, where bills are pending to ban pharmacies with walk-in clinics from selling tobacco. A bill in New York would apply to all pharmacies.