DRACUT -- As of March 1, all pharmacies in town will no longer sell tobacco products, Dracut Health Director Tom Bomil announced.
Alexander's Pharmacy at 505 Nashua Road, and Hannaford Supermarket at 301 Pleasant St., which also operates a pharmacy in the store, have notified customers that sales of cigarettes, chewing tobacco and related products will end next month, in accordance with a ban imposed by the town's Board of Health following a public hearing in December.
Bomil said both CVS pharmacies in Dracut will also discontinue tobacco sales on that date in compliance with the town ban, and coinciding with a tobacco-free policy the Woonsocket, R.I.-based corporate giant announced on Feb. 5 for all 7,600 pharmacy stores across the nation.
"Basically, we're doing what Lowell did three years ago, and joining a lot of other cities and towns that have come to this decision," Bomil said. "Dracut belongs to a local consortium of about 15 to 20 'Healthy Communities' and this (ban) is consistent with that."
Prior to voting for the change in town regulations governing the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, Board of Health members Evan Themeles, Louis Rousseau and Paul Enis heard a presentation from Ron Beauregard, director of the Andover-based Healthy Communities Tobacco Control Program, who advocated for the ban.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control-directed program urges communities to consider that tobacco use and exposure contributes greatly to the development and severity of many chronic diseases.
At a public hearing on the proposed ban of tobacco sales in pharmacies that the Board of Health hosted Dec. 12 at the Dracut Fire Department, no one spoke against the policy change, according to Bomil. George Kontos, the owner of Alexander's Pharmacy, is also OK with the ban, the health director said. Kontos was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon or evening.
"If anyone, we thought maybe Alexander's might be the one we'd get some push-back from, but they don't sell lot of cigarettes anyhow, from what I was told," Bomil said.
Dracut joins at least 80 other municipalities that have tobacco bans at pharmacies in Massachusetts, according to Tami Gouveia, executive director of Tobacco Free Mass.. Among those, Lowell, Westford, Bedford and Acton previously implemented tobacco bans at pharmacies.
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