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Walgreens Adopts Tobacco 21 Starting in September

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Starting in September, vapers will no longer be able to buy e-cigarettes at nationwide Walgreens, the drugstore and convenience chain announced this week. Since being put on notice by the Food and Drug Administration in February for being a “top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22 percent of the stores inspected having illegally sold tobacco products to minors,” Walgreens is self-policing by adopting Tobacco 21. Its nearly 10,000 stores across the United States will stop selling to 21 and under in response to both the recent heat by the FDA and also state lawmakers passing their own Tobacco 21 laws. Walgreens received nearly 1,800 tobacco sales violations during the recent FDA inspections, according to The New York Times.

Twelve states and Washington D.C. currently have made the Tobacco 21 switch, along with hundreds of individual jurisdictions and cities nationwide. New York and Maryland have pending Tobacco 21 bills on the table, while San Francisco, Boston and New York mark three of the larger cities in the recent news for banning pharmacies from selling tobacco products altogether. Additionally, Sen. Mitch McConnell has promised his own nationwide Tobacco 21 bill to come in May, along with Rep. Robert Aderholt’s Stopping Consumption of Tobacco by Teens Act version of Tobacco 21 and Reps Frank Pallone Jr. and Donna Shalala’s Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019 that would incorporate Tobacco 21, restrict flavored tobacco sales and put pressure on the FDA to restrict tobacco laws even further.

The FDA recently asked Walgreens executives to meet to discuss findings of the violations and how they affect teenage vaping in particular. Walgreens told The New York Times via its statement announcement that it supports “laws to restrict tobacco sales to those 21 and over, [and] had instituted a ‘Card All’ policy at its stores, and would focus on promoting products that help people quit smoking.”