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Consumers – even smokers – want cigarettes out of pharmacies according to new CDC data

Sixty-six percent of U.S. adults favor a ban on tobacco products in pharmacy stores, including nearly half of smokers, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

People look to pharmacies to improve and support their health.

"Selling tobacco products, the leading preventable cause of death and disease, goes against the important and growing role pharmacies play in American’s well-being,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a statement.

Past experience shows that getting tobacco out of pharmacies can be effective. CVS pharmacy locations went tobacco free in September 2014, and researchers reported that cigarette purchases dropped by a full percentage point in states where the company has a large presence. During that time, 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes sold in those states. CVS reported that its net revenues increased by 10 percent in 2015.

In August, a group of Walgreens shareholders joined with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and filed a shareholder proposal calling on Walgreens’ board of directors to review tobacco sales in its pharmacies.

The new survey data indicates that consumers would support more pharmacies quitting tobacco.

“Tobacco, the number one preventable cause of death, and pharmacies don’t mix. CVS has shown that pharmacies can do good while their bottom line still does well. Other retailers should follow suit, listen to their customers and remove tobacco products from their stores,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative.

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