Walgreens and Rite Aid Raise Tobacco Age to 21
Walgreens and Rite Aid are implementing a new, chain-wide policy that will require customers to be at least 21 years old in order to purchase tobacco products in its stores.
“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. “Through ongoing training and certification for pharmacists and technicians, we also continue to help and support people looking to quit the use of tobacco in their lives.”
The new Tobacco 21 policy, effective September 1, reinforces other recent steps the company has taken, including the implementation of a “Card All” policy chain-wide last October, which requires verification regardless of age on all tobacco sales in Walgreens and Rite Aid stores. The company’s action also aligns with the efforts of states and municipalities who have recently enacted, or are considering, laws to restrict tobacco sales to people 21 and older.
“Raising the age for purchasing tobacco products is an important step in our efforts to ensure that these products do not fall into the hands of children and teens,” said Bryan Everett, chief operating officer of Rite Aid Corporation. “Our decision is directly related to research from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that shows over 80 percent of adult smokers smoked their first cigarette before they turned 18, and nearly 95 percent started before age 21. By raising the purchase age, we are furthering our commitment to promoting responsible access to tobacco products.