San Francisco - cigarette sales rise sharply in c-stores..

October 20, 2008 - In the 18 days since San Francisco banned pharmacies from selling tobacco products, convenience-store retailers (c-stores)have seen cigarette sales rise sharply. But many believe the good fortune will be temporary. "My sense is that they will go after convenience stores," Ray Huff, president of Denver-based HJB Convenience Corp.

Beginning October 1, pharmacies in San Francisco were barred from selling tobacco products, temporarily giving an advantage to the c-store industry but raising the specter that other channels of retail, too, could one day see cigarette marketing efforts curtailed.

The ban could spread; elected officials in nearby Marin County are considering a similar prohibition. And across the country, Boston city officials also are mulling a curb that would cover pharmacies, as well as any retailer operating on the campus of that city's numerous colleges.

Philip Morris said that 20% of its sales come from pharmacies, including Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Long Drugs. So far both Walgreens and Philip Morris have struck out with their lawsuits, though both have them on appeal in separate challenges to the ordinance in California courts.

Reference: Good Fortune or Awful Omen? For now, sales are up, but San Francisco's pharmacy tobacco sales ban likely to grow by Steve Dinnen, CSP (Convenience Store/Petroleum) Daily News, 10/20/2008.