SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought..

May 10, 2008 - San Francisco would become the first city in the United States to ban the sale of tobacco in pharmacies if legislation introduced by Mayor Gavin Newsom is approved. The proposed law is designed to curb tobacco sales at stores where pharmacists work, but would not apply to big box businesses such as Costco or to grocery stores. The ordinance is just one of a series of measures supported by the mayor intended to promote healthy living among San Francisco residents, said Newsom spokeswoman Giselle Barry. "The spirit of this is that pharmacies (considered public health centers) are places people go to get better," she said. "They shouldn't be selling products that cause cancer." The legislation would take effect on Oct. 1, 2008 if the Board of Supervisors approves it. The Department of Public Health, which already regulates tobacco sales in San Francisco, would enforce the law. Violators would face fines of $100 to $1,000.

Mitch Katz, the Public Health Department Director, said it is a “conflict of interest” for pharmacies to sell tobacco products. In some cases, he said, people go to the stores to buy medication to treat health complications brought on by smoking. Katz said the ban could reduce smoking as it creates another restriction that sends the message “smoking is bad.” Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin said the “biggest concern” about the proposed ban is how it would impact the sales of other products. Michael Negrete, CEO of the Pharmacy Foundation of California, said a business promoting health should not “sell things that are hazardous to health.” References: SAN FRANCISCO Ban on tobacco at drug stores sought, Marisa Lagos, SFGate, 5/3/3008 and Mayor aims to kick drug stores’ habit, by Joshua Sabatini, The Examiner, 5/2/2008. More reading: New York State Assemblyman has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of tobacco from pharmacies., Tobacco Free Pharmacy Campaign and Wegmans, a Rochester, NY, based Supermarket Chain Will NO Longer Sell Tobacco Products.. Tobacco products are the only consumer product which when used as directed kills its consumers. (Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General, WHO 1998-2003) Click on image to enlarge.. (