GRAND BLANC (WJRT) (09/01/19) - Starting today, teens will now have one less place to buy tobacco products.
Walgreens will no longer sell tobacco to anyone under 21-years-old.
The FDA has been cracking down on the national drugstore chain for selling more tobacco to minors than any other chain.
Walgreens is responding.
They already started a "Card All" policy back in October, but now, they won't sell tobacco to anyone under 21.
Customers at Walgreens say this is a good move.
"As somebody that works in the healthcare field as a nurse, I see a lot of people with long-term effects of smoking like COPD, emphysema, and such. I think that as you get older, you're probably more able to make the kinds of decisions that can have these lifelong effects, so it's probably a good idea to push that to 21. I'm definitely for it," Grand Blanc resident, Eric Bauer said.
Marlene Carter, a Flint resident, added, "It's a good idea. It needs to be changed. So many people are getting cancer now from the smoking. If they can't get it, then they can't smoke."
Places like Rite Aid and Walmart have already raised their age requirements to 21 while others like CVS have banned tobacco sales as a whole.
Walgreens President, Richard Ashworth said he believes this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults. Some of his customers think he should follow his competitor.
"I think they definitely can do more. I do think that this is a step toward maybe taking it out altogether. I'm hoping that Walgreens and any other places where tobacco is sold would stop it altogether," Grand Blanc Township resident, Tara Sutton said.
Some disagree, saying 21 is a suitable age to make decisions surrounding tobacco consumption.
"21 should be enough because they should be able to make their own decisions at 21, and they're old enough to make it at that time," Carter said.
Bauer added, "I dont necesarily think that they should ban them altogether. As an adult, it's still legal to do, so I suppose it's probably okay to make that decision once you get older, but I think at this point, 18 is probably a little young to make that kind of decision where something is going to effect you for so long."
In his statement, Ashworth also said the company will train and certify pharmacists and technicians to help people who want to quit smoking.