Tobacco 21 legislation has been a topic that’s dominated the news in recent weeks with different states such as Texas adopting the controversial legislation [read more here] and a new bill by Mitch McConnell set to take center stage in the senate in May [read more here]. Now Tobacco 21 is spreading even further, this time in pharmacy stores.
On April 23, Walgreens announced that it would stop selling tobacco products to customers under the age of 21. This move follows the national trend of combating underage tobacco use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also been scrutinizing Walgreens and other retail chains, accusing them of repeatedly selling tobacco products to minors.
In recent weeks, Rite Aid, another popular pharmacy retailer, said that it would stop selling e-cigarette and vapor products all together [read more here]. This move was criticized by some for not going far enough, with anti-tobacco groups wanting Rite Aid to get out of the tobacco business all together, just as CVS did back in 2014. Others questioned Rite Aid’s intent, not feeling it went far enough since it will still carry other tobacco products that they view as harmful to public health.
“We’ve seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations in a press release. “Through ongoing training and certification for pharmacists and technicians, we also continue to help and support people looking to quit the use of tobacco in their lives.”
In 2018, Walgreens implemented a “Card All” policy in all of its stores, that required age verification regardless of age on all tobacco sales in Walgreens stores. This new Tobacco 21 policy was introduced as another move by the company to not only align its policies with states and municipalities it operates in but to also promote cessation products and efforts by keeping minors from using and potentially becoming addicted to tobacco products at an early age.
The new policy will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2019. You can read Walgreen’s full press statement on its new Tobacco 21 policy here.
For all the latest news from Walgreens, visit walgreens.com.