Report: San Francisco's tobacco sales ban to expand to in-store pharmacies

SAN FRANCISCO A ban on tobacco sales in San Francisco drug stores soon will grow to include any store that operates a pharmacy, according to published reports.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Monday that the city would extend its ban to supermarkets and mass merchandisers with pharmacies in addition to drug stores.

In 2008, retail pharmacies and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores opposed the ban because while banning tobacco products in drug stores, the city continued to permit supermarkets and mass merchandisers with pharmacies to sell tobacco products, prompting Walgreens to sue the city over the ban and try to have it overturned on constitutional grounds. City officials reasoned that the exception for drug stores was necessary because of what they described as the contradictory nature of a healthcare establishment selling a harmful product.

Soon after the San Francisco ban passed, Boston enacted a similar law, though the Boston law –– which was made independent of the one in San Francisco –– covered all retailers that operate pharmacies.

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