By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Following the leaders. The Attorneys General of Maryland and 26 other states are asking pharmacy chains to stop selling tobacco products.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler says other chains should follow the example set by CVS.

The announcement this year that CVS Pharmacy is phasing out tobacco sales is putting pressure on other pharmacy chains to do the same.

“It’s a real contradiction to talk about all the things we’re doing for people on their path to better health and at the same time sell tobacco,” said CVS CEO Larry Merlo.

Marylanders WJZ talked to Tuesday agree.

“I thought it was a little sad that they were predicting they might lose business. I don’t know that I’d want FDA to tell them they can’t but I think it’s great that somebody like CVS has said they’re not going to,” said supporter Peter Marx. “I’d actually give them my business over someone else because they’re doing it.”

“I was really happy when CVS made this decision. I’m glad they did it. I think they are a leader and I will shop at CVS now over other drugstores because of their policy,” said Deborah Kleiner.

That positive response is echoed by the Attorneys General of 27 states including Maryland in a letter to other chains asking them to follow the CVS example.

“Walgreens and Rite Aid for example that are actually in the business of branding themselves as health care providers, health care outlets, and we’re asking them just don’t sell cigarettes at your store. Let them sell them somewhere else,” said Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.

“I don’t think they should sell it. I haven’t smoked for 25 years so I’m totally opposed to it,” said Joan Church.

There seems to be public agreement that drugstores don’t necessarily have to sell tobacco.

“Me, I’m a smoker, so it’s convenient for me, but cigarettes are really bad so it really doesn’t matter. You can still get cigarettes at any other store,” said James Kunis.

Letters were also sent to Safeway, Kroger and Wal-Mart. Target and Wegmans have also stopped selling cigarettes.

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