From January 1, New York City pharmacies will cease to sell cigarettes or other tobacco products. The bill to withdraw such products from circulation in New York City was part of legislation designed by Mayor Bill de Blasio. While signing the bill in 2017, he had said, “Pharmacies are places of health and should not sell deadly consumer products.” The intention was to introduce a control on the items in order to decrease the rate of smoking and all the stores in the city will clear their shelves of the offensive items.

Daily Mail UK reports the ban will include supermarkets and big-box stores where there are pharmacies.

In the opinion of a senior official, such action will drastically slash the number of smokers in New York City within a time frame of three years, and pharmacies must emphasize promoting health issues.

The ban on cigarettes could prove useful

The number of those addicted to cigarettes in New York City has reached alarming figures and includes not just adults but also high school students. Mayor de Blasio wanted to see a drop in the numbers and raised the base price of cigarettes as a deterrent. That way, the city became home to the most expensive cigarettes in the country. There is already a ban on electronic cigarette sales at pharmacies since late August because e-cigarettes are also harmful.

Another strategy to check the menace was to air ads on TV highlighting the ill effects of smoking. Those who get addicted to tobacco and its products suffer from serious health issues that include cancer.

Health officials have identified the use of tobacco as a factor responsible for cancers, heart disease, and strokes that kill thousands in New York City every year. Exposure to secondhand smoke is equally bad and adds to the health risks.

Critics of the ban become vocal

According to Independent UK, some business owners feel the ban will adversely affect their interests.

They argue that customers enter the store to buy cigarettes and end up buying other items also. Moreover, imposing a ban on pharmacies may not be the solution, especially when there are other outlets. However, Sonia Angell, a deputy health commissioner, does not agree. Her argument is that pharmacies should promote health. Dr. Herminia Palacio, the deputy mayor for Health and Human Services, has explained to a section of the media that pharmacies selling cigarettes must realize that they should be playing a more positive role by helping smokers quit and not by promoting the evil.