San Francisco Takes Lead in Prohibiting Tobacco Sales in Pharmacies
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 to approve an ordinance to ban the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, making the city the first in the nation to take such action, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The ban is set to take effect on Oct. 1 and will apply to all pharmacies in the city, including Rite-Aid and Walgreens stores. Big-box retailers such as Costco and supermarkets such as Safeway will be permitted to continue selling tobacco products.
Nathan Ballard, a spokesperson for Mayor Gavin Newsom (D), praised the board's approval of the measure and said that the mayor would consider the ban's effects before extending the prohibition to other kinds of stores.
Supervisors who voted against the measure said they felt it targeted Rite-Aid and Walgreens unfairly.
Representatives of the chains also criticized the ban as unfair, and Walgreen Co. spokesperson Michael Polzin said that the company had not decided whether it would challenge the ban in court.
Larry Meredith, director of Health and Human Services for Marin County, said that county leaders would observe San Francisco's experience with the ban before pursuing a similar prohibition.
Meredith said legislation to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies already has been drafted and could go before county supervisors in the fall (Buchanan, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/30).