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A federal appeals court has ruled that the city of San Francisco can ban drugstores from selling tobacco, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, as it rejected an argument by tobacco companies that such a ban violated their constitutional right to free speech.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the city hasn't restricted freedom of expression, but rather is just limiting the number of places that cigarettes can be sold.

The city of San Francisco originally instituted the ban on the grounds that customers have a reasonable right to expect that products sold in a drug store would be healthy, and that the sale of tobacco is counter to that expectation.

No decision reportedly has been reached by tobacco purveyors about whether to appeal the case to the US Supreme Court.

The paper notes that this was just one of two lawsuits aimed at countermanding the law; the second challenges the law because it did not apply to supermarkets and big box stores that have pharmacies.
KC's View:
While my general feeling is that anything that hurts the tobacco companies and makes it hard to get their products is a good thing, I have to admit that I am a little skeptical about the rationale behind this law – it isn’t like drug stores only sell healthy stuff. But maybe the argument actually is that drug stores shouldn't be selling products designed to addict and kill the consumer.

And I also would agree that consistency would require that it be applied to all retailers with a pharmacy, not just drug stores.

But the short story is that while I see inconsistencies and problems with the law, I can't help but be in favor of it…and to think more of a city that enforces it.