Wawa Gets Philly to Change New Tobacco Regulations

Wawa cigarette counter

The cigarettes for sale behind the counter at the new Wawa at 20th and Market streets | Photo: Dan McQuade

You might see more outlets selling cigarettes in Center City sometime soon.

The Philadelphia Board of Health last night approved new limits on tobacco sales in the city. But the Inquirer reports that the board tweaked its plan in response to a complaint from Wawa. Last week, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported Wawa had threatened to cease opening stores in the city due to the proposed regulations. Read more »

Report: New Jersey, Pennsylvania Aren’t Doing Enough to Prevent Cancer

Photo: iStock/Robert Herhold

Photo: iStock/Robert Herhold

A new study from the American Cancer Society found that New Jersey is the only state in the country that spends zero dollars on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

The report, which was released today, focuses on cancer prevention, tobacco control, access to healthcare and patient quality of life. It suggests that both New Jersey and Pennsylvania aren’t putting enough resources toward combatting cancer. Read more »

One of Mayor Nutter’s Last Proposals Is Probably Already Dead

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter walks down a blocked off Market Street, with City Hall in the background, in Philadelphia on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, before Pope Francis' trip. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter walks down Market Street, with City Hall in the background. | Photo by Mel Evans/Associated Press

Mayor Michael Nutter has two short months left in office to shape his legacy in the minds of Philadelphians.

Councilwoman Marian Tasco introduced a bill earlier this month on the mayor’s behalf that, if it passes, could easily make an appearance in future news articles about Nutter’s strikingly successful efforts to lower the city’s smoking rate. The legislation would bar cigarette sales in drug stores, a natural last move for an elected official who signed a cigarette tax into law, prohibited smoking in local parks, and helped push through a citywide smoking ban in bars and restaurants.

Just a couple weeks after the drug store proposal was introduced, though, it looks as if it’s already dead. Read more »

Pa. Bill Would Raise Minimum Age for Tobacco Purchase to 21

Vanessa Lowery Brown introduces bill that raises smoking age to 21

If you’re a tobacco user in Pennsylvania between the ages of 18 to 20, here’s some advice: Smoke ’em while you got ’em.

State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown yesterday introduced House Bill 1628, which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. Currently, the age is 18.

“Studies show that the vast majority of those who smoke daily began before the age of 19,” Brown said in a statement. “Restricting access to tobacco products until age 21 should lower the smoking rate in the commonwealth.” Brown represents the 190th legislative district in Pennsylvania, which includes sections of Powelton, Mantua, Parkside, Mill Creek, Fairmount Park and other parts of West Philadelphia.

Earlier this year, Hawaii became the first state to raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21. When Hawaii’s law goes into effect on January 1st, stores in Hawaii selling tobacco to people 20 or younger will be subject to a $500 fine for a first offense. Penalties rise for subsequent violations. Those under 21 caught with tobacco products will be subject to a $10 fine for a first offense, and a $50 fine for subsequent offenses. Electronic cigarettes and vape pens were included in Hawaii’s law. Read more »

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.”

Read more »

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.)

Read more »

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