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    Some independent R.I. pharmacies oppose tobacco ban

    Rhode Island legislators recently introduced a bill that would ban pharmacies throughout the state from selling tobacco products.

    Why do drugstores sell products that kill?

    The proposed legislation is drawing opposition from what many consider an unlikely source—independent pharmacies that fear they can’t survive without tobacco sales.

    According to an article in the Providence Journal, several independent pharmacists testified against a bill sponsored by Rep. Katherine Kazarian (D-East Providence) during a hearing before a state legislative committee. Last year, CVS became the first national pharmacy retailer to end tobacco sales.

    "Keeping in mind the institution of a pharmacy and what it stands for — and tobacco and the harmful effects we know it causes — I just don't believe that both of those products should be in the same place," Kazarian said.

    However, Nickolas Shanos, who owns a pharmacy in Warwick, said the business model of independent pharmacies is much different than that of the retails giants such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Many of the independents, he said, could not survive the loss of tobacco sales, and that the bills infringes on the rights of businesses. “At what point do you say candy is detrimental to people?” Shanos asked.

    Mark Lowery, Editor
    Mark Lowery an Editor for Drug Topics magazine.

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