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Should pharmacies sell tobacco?

If you’ve been in Thrifty White since the beginning of this year, you may have noticed something missing. As of January 1, Thrifty White no longer sells tobacco products as a part of the company-wide decision to not renew their tobacco licenses. The Thrifty White in Alexandria is located at 50 3rd Avenue East.

It’s part of a trend.

Pharmacies discontinuing their sale of tobacco products have been on the incline, notably CVS/pharmacy as the first chain of pharmacies to make this decision. While Thrifty White was not available for comment on their decision, CVS released the statement that ending the sale of tobacco products is the right thing for them to do for their customers and their company to help people achieve better health.

Chief pharmacist at the Alexandria location, Dr. Brian Gibson, recognizes that some people may be unhappy and view this as an inconvenience, but he says he is happy with the decision.

“As a health care professional, I never agreed about selling cigarettes at a pharmacy,” Gibson said.

Another individual happy with Thrifty White’s choice is Health Educator Amy Reineke of Douglas County Public Health.

“I applaud them,” said Reineke. “They are a health store, and we know for a fact that tobacco is not healthy.”

It’s been reported that the ending of cigarette sales for CVS/pharmacy will lead to an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers, $1.5 billion from the tobacco products alone and the rest from the other items tobacco shoppers purchase while in the store. Thrifty White was unavailable to comment on how big of a financial loss it will be expecting from its decision.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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