Groups Call On Walgreens To Stop “Evaluating” Cigarette Sales And Just Stop Them Already

Last week, Walgreens responded to the news that CVS would stop selling cigarettes by saying it was “evaluating its tobacco line.” That didn’t sit well with some advocacy groups who have called on the nation’s largest drugstore chain to give up its nicotine addiction.

In a letter to Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson (not to be confused with Nightmare On Elm Street 3 star Craig Wasson), representatives for the National Consumers League, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and Change to Win Retail Initiatives, ask the retailer to follow the lead of CVS and stop selling and advertising tobacco products.

“[R]emoving tobacco products from your stores would be consistent with Walgreens’ mission statement to help consumers ‘get, stay and live well,’” reads the letter. “We know that your company understands the devastation caused by tobacco… Selling tobacco products is therefore at odds with Walgreens’ stated mission to promote health.”

The letter cites the positions of organizations like the American Pharmacists Association and the American Medical Association who support bans on tobacco sales in pharmacies.

What the letter doesn’t mention is that Walgreens response to the CVS announcement was to tout its smoking-cessation program, which happens to be sponsored by Merck, the huge drug company that just happens to have the license on Nicorette products in the U.S. To some, it creates a conflict of interest for a store to simultaneously sell cigarettes and a program to help people quit cigarettes.

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