Boston Bans Cigarette Sales in Drug Stores

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Boston Bans Cigarette Sales in Drug Stores

BOSTON -- Boston became the nation’s second city to ban the sale of cigarettes by pharmacies yesterday, as new rules approved by the city’s public health commission took effect, CBS News reported.

San Francisco last year imposed the first ban by a city on cigarette sales by pharmacies, and the Berkeley-based Americans for Non-Smokers Rights foundation supports the actions, according to the report.

"We’re bound to see other cities follow suit," the foundation's executive director, Cynthia Hallet, told CBS News. "You shouldn’t be able to buy tobacco products from your health service provider."

The direct financial impact on pharmacies is expected to be small, though, as cigarettes account for just 1 to 3 percent of sales, the report stated.

Sullivan's Pharmacy owner Gregory Laham is concerned about reduced customer traffic due to the law, but will comply with the law.

"We know the dangers of smoking, and I support the ban," Laham, told CBS News. "As a pharmacist, it's obvious; we shouldn't be selling cigarettes."

CVS and Walgreens operate the largest number of pharmacies in Boston, and both chains said they will comply with the new rules and are working on new merchandise displays.

The new regulation passed two months ago also ban colleges from selling tobacco products on campus, and require smoking bars to close within a decade, the report stated.

There are only 11 smoking establishments left in the city, and health officials are concerned with the emergence of several hookah bars, which cater to college students and young adults, according to the report.

In addition, the law places limits of cigar bars, in an effort to reduce employees' exposure to second-hand smoke, the report stated.

"There is second-hand smoke, but we have state-of-the-art humidifiers and smoke eaters," George Gilio, the general manager of Cigar Masters in Boston, told CBS News. "We have 10 years to prove them wrong, and I think we’ll do it."

Barry Macdonald, owner of Churcill's Lounge explained his employees are smokers themselves. "All the people that come to work for me come to work for me because they embrace the lifestyle. They enjoy this business. They’re all smokers," he said. "My position is -- it’s legal, if you’re an adult, you can make a rational decision about it."

Smoke-free laws are becoming commonplace across the country, with 27 states banning smoking in restaurants, while 22 do so in the workplace, according to Americans for NonSmokers' Rights.

"Smoke-free laws protect people from exposure to a known carcinogen, and this is a way to protect the public health," Hallet told CBS News.