Albany County legislator calls for ban on tobacco sales in pharmacies

Posted at: 03/27/2013 4:27 PM
Updated at: 03/27/2013 5:55 PM
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - It sounds like a good idea to the Tobacco-Free Coalition.

They tell us cigarettes and other tobacco products are already banned in some localities across the nation. Fifty-three places in Massachusetts including Pittsfield, Lenox and Lee, but no place yet in New York State.

"Put restrictions on a product equal to the damage that it causes," said Judy Rightmyer of the Tobacco-Free Coalition.

Legislator Tim Nichols is advancing the pharmacy tobacco ban for Albany County.

If it gets passed at a future meeting, then places like CVS, as well as Price Chopper, Hannaford and ShopRite, would have to pull their cigarettes or close their pharmacies in Albany County.

"Tobacco products shouldn't be sold in places where people go to get well," said Nichols. "Where people go to get their medicine."

The Tobacco-Free Coalition says 52 percent of pharmacies in New York State still sell tobacco. That does not include John McDonald's Cohoes pharmacy, although the freshman assemblyman is not ready to offer prohibitive legislation on the state level.

"The question is should government be telling businesses what they can and can not sell when it's a legal product," McDonald said. "That's where I have a little bit of a rub."