On Heels of CVS, Customers Call on Walgreens to Drop Tobacco, Too

Judging by your Facebook likes and shares on Wednesday, it seems a lot of you were as happy as I was to hear that CVS will stop selling tobacco products at all of its stores by October 1st. Now customers at Walgreens and Duane Reade (the latter, of course, the ubiquitous pharmacy chain in NYC, which is owned by Walgreens) are calling on those retailers to follow suit.

A petition on the website Change.org quickly cropped up this week, calling on the powers-that-be at Walgreens to discontinue sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products at their stores. Here’s the text of the petition:

Walgreens CEO Gregory D. Wasson
Walgreens President Kermit R. Crawford
Walgreens VP Jeff Kang
Walgreens VP Sue Ewing
Walgreens Medical Director Dr. Robert London

In light of CVS’s recent decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco products, it is time for Walgreens to make the same commitment to furthering public health. We ask that Walgreens cease the sale of tobacco products as soon as possible.

Walgreen’s 2013 Annual Report states “everything our company does is designed to help people get, stay and live well.” How can you say that when you sell products that are causing cancer, heart disease, and contributing to people’s poor health?

Walgreens has a slogan that it’s “at the corner of happy & healthy.” I don’t understand. In response to CVS doing the right thing, Walgreens says they are “evaluating” what to do. What is there to evaluate? There’s right and there’s wrong. It is wrong for Walgreens to claim that everything it does is “designed to help people get, stay and live well” if it continues to sell tobacco products.

The American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association have all supported taking steps to stop selling tobacco products in places like yours, so Walgreens needs to stop stalling and take the needed action.

Please cease the sale of tobacco products as soon as possible.

The petition was started by New York City resident Michael Brochstein. So far, it has over 500 signatures.

In the wake of the CVS announcement, the official word from Walgreens is that it has been “evaluating this product category for some time,” but at this point has made no commitment to can its tobacco sales.

Check out the petition for yourself here.

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