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  • 30.06.2014 Alexandria Tobacco Users Are Unhappy With New Law

    There is a certain irony to it, some have said.Smokers in Alexandria will have to leave local discount cigarettes stores to light up the products they just bought there.At least 25 feet from the stores to be exact, starting Jan. 1 after the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance Oct. 4 banning smoking cigarettes in businesses previously exempt from state and local smoking cigarettes bans, including bars and buy cigarettes stores.And some tobacco users are not happy."They think the City Council way overstepped their boundaries," said Vonne Neal, owner of Alexandria's Smoke Shop." With...

  • 09.11.2012 Southern Board Bans Tobacco

    All of Southern University’s campuses will ban cigarettes store starting in January, the Southern Board of Supervisors decided.The move makes Southern the first college system in Louisiana to ban all cigarettes products. Nicholls State University became the first public college in Louisiana to become tobacco free at the beginning of this calendar year.Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said the new policy is about promoting healthy lifestyles and setting a quality standard for all of higher education.“We’re going to look at it as the beginning of a cultural...

  • 18.10.2012 New Jersey Considers New Taxes On Non-cigarette Tobacco Products

    Little cigars, which are taking increasing space on area tobacco-shop shelves, are shaped and smoked just like cigarettes. But because New Jersey taxes them differently, they cost nearly one-third the price.Over the past several years, increased state and federal taxes have helped turn some smokers on to less-taxed cigarettes store products, local shop owners and anti-smoking cigarettes groups say.New Jersey has a $2.70 tax per cigarette pack, and the federal government has a $1.01 excise tax it enacted two years ago.That sixth-highest cigarette tax in the country may entice more smokers to...

  • 10.09.2012 Free Patches For Smokers

    Quitting smoking cigarettes just got a little easier. For a limited time, the California Smokers' Helpline is sending callers from Nevada County free nicotine patches. Eligible cigarettes store users who call 1-800-NO-BUTTS and enroll in the free telephone-based cessation program will receive a free two-week starter kit of patches, while supplies last.The patches are an FDA-approved treatment proven to help smokers kick the habit. They release nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin, reducing withdrawal symptoms and slowly weaning smokers off nicotine. Nevada County was one of 34...

  • 09.09.2012 Films Subsidized By State Promote Smoking

    California taxpayers subsidize major motion pictures that depict smoking cigarettes, which promotes the unhealthy habit and undermines efforts to keep young people from lighting up, according to UCSF researchers.In a report published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, the researchers say the state and other governments may be violating their own health policies and goals when they subsidize or offer tax credits to makers of movies that directly or indirectly promote smoking cigarettes."We have a situation where governments today are now spending taxpayer money to sell discount cigarette online to...

U.S. Judge Dismisses Safeway Challenge To Ban Drugstore Tobacco Sales

The city of San Francisco's pioneering ban on tobacco sales by pharmacies has survived its latest challenge, a constitutional lawsuit by the Safeway grocery store chain.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland Friday dismissed a lawsuit in which Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc. claimed the measure was an unconstitutional restriction on its right to conduct a lawful business.

Wilken wrote that the current version of the law is "a reasonable and permissible use" of the city's power to pass laws to protect the public.

"The protection of a vested property right in a business permit generally must yield to the state's concern for the public health and safety and its authority to legislate for the protection of the public," Wilken wrote.

The law banning the sales of discount cigarette online and other tobacco products by pharmacies was originally enacted by the Board of Supervisors in 2008 and was the first of its kind in the nation.

The board's rationale was that because pharmacies provide health-related services, they should not be allowed to give consumers "tacit approval" for disease-causing cheap cigarettes by selling the products.

In its initial form, the ordinance exempted from the ban so-called "big box stores" that contain pharmacies, such as Safeway grocery stores and large discount retailers.

But the Board of Supervisors amended the law to eliminate that exemption last year after Walgreen Co. won a state court lawsuit that claimed the law discriminated against stores that operate primarily as pharmacies.

Safeway, which has 10 grocery stores containing pharmacies in San Francisco, then filed its federal lawsuit in February.

Safeway spokeswoman Susan Houghton said company officials had not yet seen the ruling and would not be able to comment until next week on whether they plan to appeal.

"We're certainly disappointed," Houghton said. "We will have to read the ruling and evaluate our next steps."

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office defended the law, said, "Those who operate pharmacies have chosen to participate in our health care delivery system, and that should not include the delivery of cigarettes.

"I am grateful that Judge Wilken rejected the argument that Safeway ... has a constitutional right to sell addictive tobacco products," Herrera said.

In addition to the lawsuits by Safeway and Walgreen, a third challenge was filed in 2008 by Philip Morris USA Inc., the nation's largest tobacco company.

That lawsuit, filed in federal court and assigned to Wilken, claimed the ban violated Philip Morris's right of free speech by curtailing the company's advertising and displays in drugstores.

But Wilken and a federal appeals court both rejected that claim, saying that the ban regulates only conduct -- the sale of online cigarettes -- and not speech about cigarettes.

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