Superior Court Judge clears the way for San Francisco's ban on tobacco sales at pharmacies..

September 30, 2008 - San Francisco's ban on cigarette sales by pharmacies will go forward Wednesday, October 1, 2008 Judge Peter Busch, a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled today. Judge Busch ruled the city had a rational basis for enacting the ban and denied the Walgreens motion. Walgreens Co., which operates more than 50 stores in San Francisco, had asked for a preliminary injunction halting the ban, arguing it unfairly favors the larger stores. Attorneys for Walgreens claimed the first-of-its-kind prohibition violated equal protection laws and would cause irreparable harm to the company.

City attorneys had contended that the public trusts pharmacies as health-promoting businesses and that the sale of tobacco by drugstores "sends an implicit message that smoking is acceptable." Extending the ban in the future to big-box stores is under consideration, they said.

The ban has also been challenged in federal court by the Richmond, Va.-based tobacco company Philip Morris on grounds it violates the company's First Amendment right to free speech, by ending cigarette advertising and displays in stores.

Reference: Judge clears the way for San Francisco's ban on cigarette sales at pharmacies, Bay City News Service,, 09/30/2008.

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