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San Francisco drug stores face possible ban on tobacco sales

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SAN FRANCISCO A proposed ordinance to ban the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco items from San Francisco drug stores could be in place by the end of this week.

The law, proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom last Tuesday, would put a ban on tobacco sales at any stores with pharmacies, but would not include big box chain stores, like Costco, or grocery stores. A spokesperson for the mayor said that this ordinance is part of a series of actions supported by Mayor Newsom to promote independent healthy living.

“The spirit of this is that pharmacies are places people go to get better,” spokeswoman Giselle Barry said. “They shouldn’t be selling products that cause cancer.”

The new law would go into effect on Oct. 1. The San Francisco Department of Public Health [the regulator of tobacco sales in San Francisco] would be responsible for enforcement of the law and those in violation would have to pay fines of $100 to $1,000.

The proposed ordinance must have the approval of the Board of Supervisors. The topic is on the agenda for the Board’s City and County of San Francisco City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee special meeting on Thursday.

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