Pharmacy tobacco sales banned in Boston

January 1, 2009

Boston has followed San Francisco's lead and has banned pharmacy tobacco sales. It went even further and banned cigarette sales on college campuses.

Key Points

Boston recently adopted one of the toughest tobacco bans in the country, banning cigarette sales in drugstores and on college campuses. A similar pharmacy ban in San Francisco has thus far withstood several court challenges.

The Boston rules were approved unanimously by the city's Public Health Commission and will affect about 75 pharmacies. Both CVS and Walgreens said they intend to comply with the regulations. A CVS spokesperson said the company was already developing a strategy to remove tobacco products from its stores.

At least one Boston-area researcher questioned whether the ban will reduce smoking, predicting that smokers will go elsewhere to buy cigarettes. "This policy is not going to save any lives," said Michael Siegel, a researcher at the Boston University School of Public Health.

Both challenges were rejected and tobacco products disappeared from the city's pharmacy shelves last October.