Proposed law to ban tobacco sales at pharmacies

Posted at 2:08 PM, Mar 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 18:34:14-05

County Executive Mark Poloncarz unveiled a plan Friday to stop selling cigarettes and e-cigarettes in pharmacies in Erie County.

Poloncarz says that although the county could lose tax revenue if a law banning the sale of cigarettes at pharmacies is passed, he says the county will save in the long run. The ban would apply to standalone pharmacies and stores with pharmacies in them.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein backed Poloncarz’s plan. She said 20 percent of high school students in Erie County. And every year, 900 Erie County residents are diagnosed with lung cancer.

Poloncarz argued counties across the U.S. are passing similar bans. He said he’s putting the health of county residents ahead of these retailers’ profits.

“Erie County has a history of leading on tobacco regulation and we must be a leader in New York State on this important issue,” he said on Twitter, adding, “Pharmacies sell products that heal people; they should not sell products that cause cancer and kill.”

CVS Health and Wegmans are two big box retailers that have already stopped selling cigarettes in their pharmacies.