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Board to consider expanding tobacco ban

After becoming the first city in the country to ban tobacco sales in drug stores, San Francisco now must decide whether to expand the bill to include banning tobacco from all stores that have pharmacies.

The bill is designed to close a loophole that arose out of a lawsuit from Walgreen’s, which saw cigarettes vanish from its stores but not at supermarkets and big-box stores with pharmacies, making Walgreen’s say it was unfairly targeted, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

A California appeals court sided with Walgreen’s, which forced the board to craft the new legislation. 

The expansion of the tobacco ban would bring the total number of stores on the no-smoking list from 60 to 74, according to SF Weekly.

Safeway, which makes up nine of the 14 stores that would be added to the list, has suggested paying for an educational anti-smoking campaign or to exclude stores where pharmacies don’t take up much floor space instead of being included in the ban. A spokesperson said this bill was another in a line of bills that has made it harder to conduct business in the city, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

A vote on the legislation was expected later Tuesday, with a final vote to pass it in two weeks. Mayor Gavin Newsom has said he will sign the bill.