Proposed N.Y. Tobacco Ban Stirs Debate

New York could be the first state to adopt a ban on cigarette sales in drugs stores, supermarkets and big-box stores with pharmacies, such as Wal-Mart.


A bill is currently being debated in Albany, N.Y., that if approved by both chambers and signed by Democratic Gov. David Paterson, would ban cigarettes  in pharmacies and retail stores that contain pharmacies. Such a store could only sell tobacco products if a wall and separate entrance was provided for the pharmacy.


Similar measures already have already appeared in cities, including San Francisco and Boston, but if passed, this bill would be the first statewide ban of its kind on tobacco sales.


Supporters and opponents agree that such a ban could lead to more measures to stop the sale of tobacco products.


Audrey Silk of New York Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment told the Associated Press the bill would not reduce cigarette sales, but would drive business toward gas stations and other retailers that don’t offer smoke cessation products along side them as pharmacies do. The decrease in sales competition could be good news for c-store cigarette sales, or bad news if the ban spurs further crackdown on tobacco sales.


Earlier this month, New York’s legislature rejected a proposal to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets.


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