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The New York Times reports that attorneys general from more than two dozen states "sent letters on Sunday to five of the country’s largest retailers, encouraging them to stop selling tobacco products in stores that also have pharmacies." While the letters did not threaten legal action if the stores do not comply, the story suggests that "if the retailers did not act voluntarily, a push for reform or litigation could be a step down the road.

The attorneys general are looking for the retailers to follow the lead of CVS, which recently announced that it will stop selling tobacco in its stores, saying that such sales were inconsistent with the role it is carving out as a healthcare provider. The letters were sent to Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, Walgreen and Rite Aid.

“There is a contradiction in having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services health care needs,” the letters said.

The Times writes that "the group of attorneys general, led by Eric T. Schneiderman of New York and Mike DeWine of Ohio, represents 28 states and territories, including New Hampshire, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Utah, Puerto Rico and Guam."
KC's View:
Tobacco is a legal product, and I'm not sure that it makes sense to spend a lot of time and energy trying to force these retailers to stop selling it. But I do think that because tobacco is a product that is totally inconsistent with the notion of health, retailers that want to have a legitimate and credible image in this area will have to seriously consider whether they want to be selling it. Not everybody will get out of the category, but some will … and I think they will be the winners in terms of brand equity in the long run.