RICHMOND, Va. Tobacco company Philip Morris USA filed a suit in federal court Wednesday to overturn a San Francisco ordinance that would ban the sale of tobacco products in retail pharmacies. The ban is scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.
“Although called a ban on sales, the purpose and effect of the ordinance is to suppress communications directed to adult smokers, in violation of our constitutional rights,” said Joe Murillo, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris as vice president and associate general counsel for Altria Client Services. “Likewise, the ban unfairly deprives adult consumers of the opportunity to buy tobacco products from legitimate licensed retail businesses.”
The company called the ban “unjust to manufacturers, retailers and adult consumers because it bars without legitimate reason certain retailers from offering legal tobacco products to adult consumers who wish to buy them.”
Walgreens filed an injunction with the San Francisco Superior Court on Sept. 9 to try and stop the ban from taking effect.
Neighboring Marin County has proposed a similar ban, and health officials in Boston have proposed a ban that would affect tobacco sales at retail pharmacies and on college campuses while strengthening anti-smoking laws.