Walgreens to raise tobacco buying age to 21

Walgreens to raise tobacco buying age to 21
© Getty Images

Walgreens will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21, the company announced Tuesday.

The new policy, which takes effect Sept. 1, aims to prevent youth access to tobacco products, Walgreens said.

The change comes as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers actions against the company for selling products to those under 18.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We’ve seen positive results from other recent efforts to strengthen our policies related to tobacco sales, and believe this next step can be even more impactful to reduce its use among teens and young adults,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations, in a statement.

The FDA said in February that 22 percent of the 6,350 Walgreens stores it had inspected were found to have sold tobacco products to minors, making it the top violator among pharmacy chains.

A Walgreens location in Miami was banned from selling tobacco products for 30 days for "repeated violations" of age restrictions. The FDA said it would consider additional enforcement avenues to address the company's record of selling to minors.

CVS, which is Walgreens's main rival, stopped selling tobacco products in 2014.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump MORE (R-Ky.) said last week he would soon introduce federal legislation to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21, an action that a dozen states have already taken.

Efforts to raise the purchasing age come amid what the FDA says is a youth vaping epidemic. About 3.6 million middle and high school students said they used e-cigarettes in 2018.