Wegmans to Stop Tobacco, Cigarette Sales
Kudos to the folks at Wegmans supermarket chain, who announced Friday that the company will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products next month! With 71 stores in five states, the chain is making a major statement that the health and well being of its customers, and the community at large, is more important than profits. Yes, some capitalists, it seems, do have a conscience!
Although customers who wish to continue buying tobacco products can, and will, certainly find another place to get them, and Wegmans executive, Danny Wegman is fair in stating, "We certainly respect a person's right to smoke," this new policy does indeed take off the map 71 places in which to purchase tobacco products.
This strategy may make it just inconvenient enough for some customers to decide that this might be the very time to put those smokes down for good - and keep those dollars in their pockets. Just as smoking has been banned in many restaurants and bars, and in most workplaces, the increased hassle of making yet another stop when running errands, this time to purchase tobacco; or having to leave the workplace to stand out in the cold to smoke, it all discourages the smoker from thoughtlessly picking up a carton at the store or automatically reaching for that cigarette on the desk.
Personal experience tells me that the more inconvenient smoking becomes, the more likely the smoker is to give some serious thought to quitting. Of course, the decision to quit still rests in the hands - and in the mind and body - of the smoker, but gives pause to ask, "Is it really worth it?" And in this way it is being done with respect to our friends and loved ones in the community who struggle with a cruel and powerful addiction. Tobacco is still available, but is increasingly expensive and less readily available, thereby eliminating ways to immediately satisfy hard and fast habits.
Only time will tell if other stores will follow Wegmans' example, but for now this bold move not only speaks volumes about the dangers of tobacco use, but moreover, about one company's commitment to doing its part toward a smoke-free - and healthier - community.