Some U.S. retailers and tobacco part ways

May 9, 2008 at 9:16 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, May 9 (UPI) -- U.S. retailers are dropping out of the cigarette business and finding a supportive reaction from customers, retailers say.

A spokesman for Wegmans, a chain of 70 supermarkets, said there was far more support than complaints when the retailer pulled tobacco products from their shelves, USA Today reported Friday.

Some city and state governments are considering a ban of tobacco sales at pharmacies. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said he is confident a ban of pharmacy sales of tobacco products will win Board of Supervisors approval early this summer and become law on Oct. 1.

New Hampshire, Illinois and Tennessee are considering similar bans for pharmacies with walk-in clinics, while New York is considering a tobacco-sales ban for all pharmacies, the report said.

"Pharmacies are places we go to get healthy," New York Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo, said. "It just seems inappropriate that on the other hand, they sell something that kills."

Philip Morris USA spokesman Bill Phelps disagreed. "We think retailers should be able to decide," Phelps told the USA Today.

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