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28 States Ask Major Pharmacy Chains To End Tobacco Sales

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Attorneys general from 28 states, including New York, and U.S. territories are trying to extinguish tobacco sales at major U.S. pharmacies.

They have written to the chief executives of Walmart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger, urging them to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. The move comes after CVS Caremark announced last month it would stop selling tobacco in its stores Oct. 1.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said pharmacies increasingly market themselves as sources for community health care, sending "a mixed message" by continuing to sell "deadly tobacco products."

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said voluntary decisions by the national retailers will also help keep tobacco away from youths.

According to Schneiderman's office, the attributable health care costs of smoking are at least $289 billion annually.

"The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a backseat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country," Schneiderman said in a news release. "I urge these companies to do the right thing and remove tobacco products from store shelves."

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