Walgreens no longer selling tobacco products to anyone under 21

Henrietta Strickland
April 24, 2019

Walgreens has made a decision to raise its minimum age for tobacco sales several weeks after a top federal official chastised the drugstore chain for violating laws restricting access to cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The action also aligns with the efforts of states and municipalities who have recently enacted, or are considering, laws to restrict tobacco sales to people 21 and older, according to Walgreens, which has supported such legislative proposals.

In March, then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb accused Walgreens of being a top violator among drugstores that sell tobacco products, cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes, to minors, according to The Associated Press.

Walgreens stores had racked up nearly 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the United States since 2010, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement in February.

The new, chain-wide policy will begin on September 1 and is the most recent step in an ongoing effort to further prevent youth access to tobacco products, according to an April 23 news release.

The changes come as lawmakers struggle to fight what the FDA called an "epidemic-level" rise in the number of young people using some form of tobacco product.

Walgreens rival CVS Health quit selling tobacco several years ago.

On Tuesday, Walgreens said it promises to stick to the rules - and even tighter ones, requiring customers to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco in any of its more than 9,500 stores nationwide.

"I have particular concerns about whether the pharmacy setting is influencing consumer and retailer perceptions around tobacco products in a way that's contributing to these troubling findings", Gottlieb said.

USA federal law bans the sale of tobacco products to people under 18 years of age but states can extend the ban.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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