This Bill Would Ban Cigarette Sales In Drug Stores

Mayor Michael Nutter wants to prohibit cigarette sales in drug stores throughout Philadelphia, in hopes of persuading more smokers to kick the habit.

Councilwoman Marian Tasco introduced a bill on behalf of the Nutter administration Thursday that would ban the sale of tobacco products in any establishments that offer “health services,” including stores that sell pharmaceutical drugs.

Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Nutter, said the bill could reduce tobacco sales in the city by 6 percent.  Read more »

How Philly’s Plummeting Smoking Rate Could Harm Schools

1. Maybe you shouldn’t quit smoking … for the kids. (We kid, we kid.)

The gist: Today, Philadelphia’s new cigarette tax is bringing in the bucks for the city’s schools. The Inquirer reported that in its first nine months, the tax raised $50 million for the school district — which is almost exactly what officials had predicted. During the budget year that just began this July, the tax is expected to reap $60 million. “After that, however, the tax will bring decreasing amounts, according to state and school district officials,” wrote the Inky’s Claudia Vargas. “They expect cigarette sales to decrease by 7 percent in 2016-17 and even more after that.”

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Mayor Nutter Reminds Citizens Not to Smoke Anything in Parks

Mayor Michael Nutter signed Philadelphia’s new marijuana policy into effect earlier this week. Though it won’t start until October 20th, the mayor tweeted this morning to remind everyone that smoking in public is still illegal.

And, well, that smoking anything in a public park is illegal, too.

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Bill That Approved Cigarette Tax Guarantees More Charter Schools in Philadelphia


Philadelphians exhaled last week when the Pennsylvania House approved a $2-a-pack cigarette tax increase in the city, a move expected to generate up to $170 million. Without that extra money, the district’s schools faced drastic cuts in October. No one was really happy about it. When it looked as if the bill would pass this summer, Newsworks’ Dave Davies wrote the legislative victory was “spectacularly depressing” — but at least it’s a solution for this school year.

It’s not like House Republicans suddenly changed their mind on a cigarette tax that was declared dead in late June and delayed again this July for nothing. A report in the Inquirer this summer detailed the reason many House GOP members flipped: An amendment in the cigarette tax bill allows charter school applicants rejected or ignored by the School Reform Commission a second chance with the state Charter Appeals Board. Previously, they had no avenue to appeal. (See the final version of HB 1177 below; it contains both the cigarette tax language and the charter appeal process.)

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Penn Professors: School Must Divest from Tobacco


In an open letter to the University posted on, five Penn professors urge the school to stop investing in companies that sell tobacco products.

The professors — Peter Conn, Chris Feudtner, Paul N. Lanken, Diana Robertson and Michael Weisberg — go through the obvious arguments about tobacco and cigarette smoking’s health effects and also note that most school’s of Penn’s size and reputation have divested their endowments from holdings in tobacco companies. Harvard did it in 1990!

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50 Things About Wawa for Wawa’s 50th Anniversary


AP Photo | Courtesy of Wawa Inc.

Fifty years ago today, the first Wawa opened at the corner of MacDade Blvd. and Swarthmore Ave. in Folsom, Pennsylvania. Today, you can get free coffee at any of Wawa’s locations. (Here’s a Wawa store locator.) To celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary, here are 50 things about the Philadelphia area’s favorite convenience store.

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