Your March 29 editorial was highly critical of Albany County’s tobacco-free pharmacies bill. One of your criticisms was that Albany County sought only to ban tobacco products in pharmacies, while allowing the sale of other unhealthy products such as candy and sugary drinks.
Smoking kills 600,000 Americans each year. Of the 580,000 people you mentioned who die of heart disease, it should be noted that one-third of these deaths are from smoking. While tobacco products kill when used as directed, candy and soda do not.
Your statement that “many big grocery stores and department stores ... all have pharmacies inside them” is in error. The majority of these don’t. You go on to point out that “the county isn’t seeking to ban them from selling tobacco.” Yes, the county Legislature is if the stores contain a pharmacy. I have to wonder if you actually read the bill.
Selling a deadly product where people go to buy products to improve their health sends a message, especially to youths, that tobacco may not be hazardous to their health. Selling tobacco there is excellent free advertising for tobacco products. The picture of a wall of cigarette packs that accompanied your article may be even better free advertising. Tobacco companies are not allowed to post such a picture in your newspaper. So, why did you?