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States ask biggest stores to stop the sale of tobacco

By: Ruben Veloz
EL PASO, Texas -- More than two dozen states across the country are calling for some of the nations biggest retail store pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products in their stores.
This comes just one month after CVS pharmacy said it would stop selling tobacco products in October because it was inconsistent with their purpose.

The effort is led by the New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Ohio Attorney Mark DeWine.

"My mom smokes a lot so there's always going to be cigarettes, said west El Paso resident Gloria Merino.
Merino and her mom are avid smokers, but said she wouldn't mind if pharmacies stopped selling cigarettes.
"I wouldn't be upset because it's their own right to sell cigarettes or not, said Merino.
The plea was written in to five of the biggest retail pharmacies around the country like Walgreens, Safeway, Walmart. Rite Aid and Kroger, which owns Albertsons.

Attorney generals from 28 states, including New Mexico, have asked them to stop selling tobacco products.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot was not involved in the petition.

I do support it and don't support it. El Paso resident Logan Yarber. For some reason some people may want to come to a tobacco store or convenience store to get tobacco, but then I don't because it is a cancer killing product and I think they should quit selling it in general."
Some El Pasoans tell KFOX14 they support the attorney generals' actions, but said it would open up a new debate.
"I feel like that opens up a bit of a can of worms where should they be selling alcohol or other things that that are considered dangerous or harmful to people, said west El Pasoans Dafne Elizondo.
So far the other stores haven't expressed any interest in following CVSs lead, but if they do, it would affect scores of customers across the country.
Critics said it could lose billions of dollars in revenue generated from taxes, but Merino said she'll just buy it somewhere else
"Everyone in my family smokes so I guess it's in my blood, said Merino.
The letters don't mention any type of legal action if the pharmacy stores continue selling tobacco products, however, legal experts say if the retailers do not act, it could open the door for reform or litigation down the road.