Catt. Co. Health Board Looks To Reduce Tobacco Sales

OLEAN – For some time, members of the Cattaraugus County Board of Health have looked at ways to reduce the sale of tobacco in places like pharmacies. The search for a viable way to limit these transactions continues.

Cattaraugus County is not the first to take a look at legislating tobacco sales in stores with pharmacies. Albany County has taken a look at the same issue, according to Dr. Kevin Watkins, Public Health director.

When a customer walks into many drug stores in Cattaraugus County to fill a prescription, that person would, at some point in the process, find themselves face to face with tobacco products. The issue that the board of health has with this is that the customer went in to get an item to make himself better, and they are confronted with a product that could be a problem for health in general.

While the issue found itself tabled by the board, Cattaraugus County Attorney Tom Brady said he is in communication with the State Attorney General’s office on the matter to see if a local law can be created that would place restrictions on distances from the pharmacies such products can be sold similar to layouts in big box stores.

“I have contacted them, but have not heard back yet,” he told the board.

As further information is sought on the matter, the board is considering sending letters to stores that have either stopped selling tobacco products, or have moved them from near the pharmacy, thanking them for the action. While no store is required to do so, a few in the county have made the commitment, Watkins said.