Fall River, MA Tobacco must come off pharmacy shelves in 30 days..

March 25, 2011 - Fall River is a city in Bristol County, Massachusetts, in the United States. It is located about 46 miles (74 km) south of Boston and 16 miles (26 km) southeast of Providence, Rhode Island. Fall River, MA.

The ban on selling tobacco products in stores with pharmacies will become a Fall River city ordinance in 30 days after the City Council’s second 5-4 vote to approve the ban Tuesday night, March 22nd. Once the ordinance becomes law, 17 retail outlets like CVS, Rite Aid and Stop & Shop must remove cigarettes and related products from their shelves or face daily fines.

“I’m very happy they passed it tonight. I think it’s one more step in making Fall River a healthier place to live and raise our kids,” said Marilyn Edge, SouthCoast tobacco cessation and prevention coordinator.

Ms. Edge: “I feel we have to focus on doing everything we can to stop people from smoking, but what’s in front of you is not going to do that,” Councilor Pat Casey said.

Mayor Will Flanagan now has 10 days to sign it, and there’s an automatic 20-day appeal period before the ordinance goes into effect. The new law won't impact five independent pharmacies in the city. Those establishments voluntarily stopped selling cigarettes at least a decade ago, according to prior testimony.

The chain stores that will be affected include: seven Rite Aids, four CVS stores, two Walgreens, two Stop & Shops, one Wal-Mart and one of the two Shaw's supermarkets in the city.

Only the Shaw's on William Canning Boulevard is included in the ban, because it has a pharmacy. The North Main Street location does not have a pharmacy and can continue to sell tobacco, according to information gathered from store officials and Assistant Corporation Counsel Elizabeth Pereira.

Edge, joined by leaders of the BOLD Coalition and their supporters, including city youth, referenced four other cities and four towns that passed similar tobacco sale bans, including Boston in 2008. More are under consideration, she said.

Joined for an interview after the vote by Markus Watson, B.M.C. Durfee High School senior and leader of BOLD’s Teens Against Drug Abuse, Edge said she wanted to emphasize that the stores covered by the ban did not participate in the public debate.

All of the chain stores with individual pharmacies and their corporate offices were invited to come to meetings held on three occasions this month. “And not one has shown up or voiced opposition,” she said. Edge said she thought the reason was “because it’s not an important issue to them.”

Attorney Donald Wilson, head of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said changes in the availability of cigarettes has happened “over the last couple of decades.”

Hospitals, for instance, don’t allow the sale of cigarettes in their gift shops or vending machines, and some, including in the SouthCoast, ban cigarette smoking on hospital campuses, he said.

A drug store, he said, prescribes dosages of medicine to make one get better. “Cigarettes can guarantee that it leads to death,” he said.

Reference: Tobacco must come off pharmacy shelves in 30 days, City Council decides by Michael Holtzman, Herald News Staff Reporter. 3/23/2011.

Tobacco Free Mass..

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