San Francisco pharmacies ordered to stop selling tobacco

July 31, 2008

Pharmacies that violate this rule could be fined up to $1,000.

Starting this fall, pharmacies in San Francisco cannot sell tobacco products, thanks to a new ruling by the city's board of supervisors. Mayor Gavin Newsom had proposed this measure on the grounds that as healthcare providers, pharmacies should not sell cigarettes, which account for so much mortality and morbidity in this country. Pharmacies that violate this rule could be fined up to $1,000. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores had opposed this measure, because there's no assurance that it will lead to a drop in smoking and it could put its members at a competitive disadvantage against retailers who can sell tobacco. San Francisco is the first city in this country to take this step. Other cities are considering or have rejected similar proposals. Meanwhile, Congress is currently considering legislation that would give the Food & Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco products. Both the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association urged legislators to pass the Family Smoking and Tobacco Control Act. They explained that given the damage smoking causes, endowing FDA with the authority to regulate tobacco would set up additional restrictions on the manufacturing, marketing, labeling, distribution, and sale of these products.

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