Mollie Stone's Kicks the Habit

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Mollie Stone's Kicks the Habit

SAN FRANCISCO -- Mollie Stone's, a food retailer based in San Francisco, chose to stop the sale of tobacco products at eight of its stores in the local area, stating that the decision was in line with its mission of providing healthful products to shoppers, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported.

The decision, which was endorsed by the American Heart Association and praised by the American Cancer Society, calls for the return of $30,000 worth of tobacco inventory to manufacturers. The decision makes this company the first in the area and most likely the largest in the state to ban tobacco products, the report stated.

"Hopefully other stores will follow suit," said Arlene Francisco of the Greater Bay Area chapter of the American Lung Association.

The decision to stop selling tobacco has long been a wish of co-owner David Bennett waned to see a halt to tobacco sales in stores for some time. As the company approached its 20th anniversary, Bennett and his business partner thought about what to change and do differently with the stores. Both agreed to eliminate tobacco products from stores. Six months ago they finalized the decision and have been receiving positive praise sine then, Bennett told the paper.

"We started to look back on how we could make a difference in people's lives," Bennett added. "We looked at it as a way to do something right."

Store employees are behind the decision and smokers didn't seem bothered, according to Bennett. Two San Mateo customers tried to purchase cigarettes earlier this week. When they were informed the store didn’t sell tobacco products both responded with "that's probably for the best," according to Bennett.

Potential losses have not been calculated, he added, but he is confident that the decision will not force smokers to shop in other places, noting that a store that will sell cigarettes is located nearby.

The American Lung Association told the paper that the store’s decision to ban tobacco is one of the first steps to preventing children from picking up the bad habit.

"We're very, very supportive of Mollie Stone's. The fewer places that sell tobacco means one less place for youth to buy cigarettes," Patricia Clark, development director for the American Lung Association told the Journal.

Bennett continued that he has been surprised at the amount of attention the decision is attracting. "I didn't realize we would have the impact we're having," he said.