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Walgreens tobacco sales are under “scrutiny,” says new CEO Rose Bru

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A man walks into a Walgreens store in San Francisco, California, USA on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rose Brewer said the pharmacy is keeping a close eye on whether it will continue to sell cigarettes and tobacco products as it focuses more on healthcare.

“We’re thinking about what’s next in our stores,” she said in an interview with Bertha Coombs on CNBC, which aired Thursday. “And how do we actually project a health for you profile when you walk into our stores? Tobacco is one of those areas that are now under serious scrutiny. And you will see new opportunities emerge in this area. ”

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Walgreens surpassed Wall Street expectations on Thursday in fiscal fourth quarter earnings as it gained growth from Covid-19 vaccinations. Sales over the three-month period reflected the strength of health and wellness products such as home tests for Covid, vitamins, and over-the-counter cough, cold and flu medications.

In the fourth quarter, LFL retail sales were up 6.2% year-over-year. That figure increased to 7.2% when the company eliminated the sale of tobacco and e-cigarettes.

For years, Walgreens has been under scrutiny by some investors and health officials for selling its products. Walgreens cut sales of tobacco-related products, such as discontinuing e-cigarettes. He also raised the age for buying tobacco to 21 in 2019 after the FDA said the pharmacy chain sells to minors.

However, its main competitor has already taken tobacco off the shelves. CVS Health stopped selling cigarettes and related products in 2014, saying it was not in line with the company’s healthcare mission.

The FDA has taken a tougher stance on e-cigarettes amid concerns that vaping is driving an increase in tobacco use among teens, especially with flavors such as candy, fruit and mint. Earlier this week, the company approved the sale of the e-cigarette brand in the US, saying it could benefit some adult smokers who are switching to a different product. However, he disapproved of some of the company’s flavored products.


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