The role of mom-and-pop and big chain pharmacies has been taken to a new public-health level during the coronavirus pandemic, as they’re soon to be vaccination sites and adding more on-site medical care.
So why are they still selling tobacco and other products harmful to health? The state Legislature this week started tackling that question, with the Senate health committee voting to ban the sale of cigarettes, tobacco and vaping products in them, allowing a carve-out for supermarkets, department stores, and big box retailers with pharmacies — think Walmart or Target. The CVS drugstore chain took the leap eight years ago, but no other chains followed.
There’s strong opposition from the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores, which says the bill picks and chooses which retailers get to sell a legal product. Those pharmacies would face fines for the sales if the bill becomes law.