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Ohio and Pennsylvania urge pharmacies to halt tobacco sales

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has joined New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in leading an effort to convince the largest pharmacy chains in the United States to stop selling tobacco products.

Attorneys General of 28 states and territories, including Ohio and Pennsylvania have written to the CEOs of Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway and Kroger, asking them to remove any and all tobacco products from their shelves. In addition, 32 Attorneys General have commended CVS Caremark for its recent decision to stop selling tobacco in its stores.

"My fellow attorneys general and I are asking these national retailers to take an additional step forward in keeping tobacco products away from youth by voluntarily not selling them in their stores with pharmacies," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. "The health of our kids is just too important."

Tobacco-related disease is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, causing over 480,000 deaths in the last year alone – more than AIDS, alcohol, illegal drug use, car accidents and firearm-related deaths combined. Since 1965, over 20 million Americans have died prematurely as a result of smoking.

Health care costs and productivity losses attributable to smoking cost the nation at least $289 billion each year. Almost 90% of all adult smokers start smoking by 18 years of age.

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