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Walgreens raises minimum tobacco sales age to 21 after FDA pressure

Walgreens stores will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 starting September 1, the Walgreens Boots Alliance...

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 1:29 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2019 1:30 PM

Walgreens stores will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 starting September 1, the Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday. Boots is the UK division of the company.

The legal age to buy tobacco in both countries is currently 18, but efforts to raise the limit to 21 are underway. In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health recently called for a change in the legal age limit to achieve a 'smoke-free generation.'

In early April, Illinois joined the ranks of a number of US states who have raised the age for legal sales to 21; others who have passed such laws include Washington, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine and Massachusetts, Arkansas and Virginia.

Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said Walgreens' move was nothing more than a recognition of the growing trend toward limiting sales. He chastised the company, saying 'Walgreens shouldn't be selling tobacco products, period.'

A top competitor, CVS, banned all tobacco sales in 2014, saying the sales 'conflicted with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.'

'Walgreens should recognize that there is a fundamental conflict between their mission as a health care provider and the sale of tobacco products, which are the number one cause of preventable death,' Myers said in a statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration had recently cracked down on Walgreens and other retailers for selling tobacco products to minors. In early March, the agency called for a meeting with Walgreens after announcing that the pharmacy giant sells tobacco to more minors than any other pharmacy chain.

The FDA said its inspectors found nearly 1,800 cases since 2010 in which Walgreens stores violated the law and illegally sold tobacco products to minors; 22% of the more than 6,000 inspected stores had made illegal sales, the FDA said.

'These illegal sales must stop,' then-Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in a letter to Walgreens President of Operations Richard Ashworth. 'The stakes are too high for our young people and our country's decades-long fight to reduce the morbidity and mortality that accompanies tobacco product use.'

Walgreens began a 'Card All' policy in October that requires verification of all sales of tobacco, regardless of age.

In Tuesday's announcement, Ashworth said that 'We've seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults.'

Ashworth said the company will also train and certify pharmacists and technicians to help people quit tobacco and will promote tobacco-cessation products and services, along with 'a comprehensive suite of digital information and support tools to patients who want to quit smoking.'

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312969

Reported Deaths: 3637
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin661641115
Ramsey27766505
Anoka22149228
Dakota22015190
Washington13999115
Stearns13733116
St. Louis8747112
Scott846255
Wright775843
Olmsted665634
Sherburne587641
Clay498457
Carver474213
Blue Earth414116
Rice412836
Kandiyohi408122
Crow Wing359634
Otter Tail314322
Chisago311611
Nobles308730
Benton299451
Winona276930
Mower261623
Douglas260337
Polk256324
Morrison231629
Lyon218711
Beltrami217117
McLeod212812
Becker205415
Goodhue203228
Steele19497
Isanti190617
Itasca190423
Carlton185816
Todd181214
Nicollet162525
Mille Lacs153631
Freeborn15336
Le Sueur147011
Cass143710
Brown141315
Waseca139211
Pine13658
Meeker12879
Roseau11964
Hubbard114925
Martin113320
Wabasha10561
Redwood94619
Chippewa8877
Cottonwood8664
Renville86527
Dodge8600
Watonwan8544
Wadena8016
Sibley7934
Rock7779
Aitkin76730
Pipestone72518
Fillmore6990
Houston6984
Yellow Medicine64812
Pennington6478
Kanabec61913
Murray5873
Swift5838
Faribault5612
Pope5391
Clearwater5248
Stevens5103
Marshall4979
Unassigned49359
Jackson4881
Lake4226
Koochiching3926
Wilkin3895
Lac qui Parle3773
Lincoln3591
Norman3497
Big Stone3182
Mahnomen2964
Grant2796
Kittson2248
Red Lake2133
Traverse1481
Lake of the Woods1001
Cook720

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 227398

Reported Deaths: 2368
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk33642336
Linn14352165
Scott1124986
Black Hawk10893135
Woodbury10372126
Johnson955336
Dubuque923291
Story678822
Dallas637257
Pottawattamie631970
Sioux370325
Webster358535
Cerro Gordo357144
Marshall348546
Clinton331344
Buena Vista305414
Des Moines291520
Muscatine289268
Warren281914
Plymouth276042
Wapello255772
Jones232313
Jasper217944
Marion205320
Lee203917
Carroll198422
Bremer195212
Henry18307
Crawford174616
Benton170619
Tama154340
Jackson144613
Delaware144221
Washington141314
Dickinson139210
Boone137011
Mahaska126827
Wright12456
Clay11784
Buchanan117010
Hardin115810
Page11374
Hamilton11199
Clayton11175
Cedar108413
Harrison107729
Kossuth10667
Calhoun10617
Floyd105016
Mills10487
Fayette103910
Lyon10338
Butler10216
Poweshiek99313
Winneshiek97613
Iowa95812
Winnebago93023
Hancock8677
Grundy86311
Louisa86216
Sac8608
Chickasaw8574
Cherokee8484
Allamakee81811
Cass81623
Mitchell7984
Appanoose79312
Humboldt7715
Union7706
Shelby76511
Emmet76424
Guthrie75415
Franklin73921
Jefferson7142
Madison6864
Unassigned6690
Palo Alto6554
Keokuk5997
Howard5599
Pocahontas5584
Greene5250
Osceola5241
Ida48913
Clarke4874
Davis4709
Taylor4653
Montgomery46311
Monroe44412
Adair4418
Monona4352
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Decatur3170
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