Walgreens raises minimum tobacco sales age to 21 after FDA pressure

Walgreens stores will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 starting September 1, the Walgreens Boots Alliance...

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 1:29 PM
Updated: Apr 23, 2019 1:30 PM

Walgreens stores will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 starting September 1, the Walgreens Boots Alliance announced Tuesday. Boots is the UK division of the company.

The legal age to buy tobacco in both countries is currently 18, but efforts to raise the limit to 21 are underway. In the UK, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health recently called for a change in the legal age limit to achieve a 'smoke-free generation.'

In early April, Illinois joined the ranks of a number of US states who have raised the age for legal sales to 21; others who have passed such laws include Washington, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oregon, Maine and Massachusetts, Arkansas and Virginia.

Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said Walgreens' move was nothing more than a recognition of the growing trend toward limiting sales. He chastised the company, saying 'Walgreens shouldn't be selling tobacco products, period.'

A top competitor, CVS, banned all tobacco sales in 2014, saying the sales 'conflicted with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.'

'Walgreens should recognize that there is a fundamental conflict between their mission as a health care provider and the sale of tobacco products, which are the number one cause of preventable death,' Myers said in a statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration had recently cracked down on Walgreens and other retailers for selling tobacco products to minors. In early March, the agency called for a meeting with Walgreens after announcing that the pharmacy giant sells tobacco to more minors than any other pharmacy chain.

The FDA said its inspectors found nearly 1,800 cases since 2010 in which Walgreens stores violated the law and illegally sold tobacco products to minors; 22% of the more than 6,000 inspected stores had made illegal sales, the FDA said.

'These illegal sales must stop,' then-Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in a letter to Walgreens President of Operations Richard Ashworth. 'The stakes are too high for our young people and our country's decades-long fight to reduce the morbidity and mortality that accompanies tobacco product use.'

Walgreens began a 'Card All' policy in October that requires verification of all sales of tobacco, regardless of age.

In Tuesday's announcement, Ashworth said that 'We've seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults.'

Ashworth said the company will also train and certify pharmacists and technicians to help people quit tobacco and will promote tobacco-cessation products and services, along with 'a comprehensive suite of digital information and support tools to patients who want to quit smoking.'

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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