Wegmans Getting Out of Cigarette Sales
Wegmans is getting out of the business of selling cigarettes and other tobacco products starting Feb. 10.
That announcement made Wegmans the only grocery chain in New York to stop selling tobacco. The chain also operates stores New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“As a company, we respect a person’s right to smoke, but we also understand the destructive role smoking plays in health,” said Danny Wegman, chief executive officer of Wegmans, in a statement.
Ann McCarthy, a spokesperson for Wegmans, told The Buffalo News that Wegmans is getting out of cigarette sales even though the category remains a profit contributor.
“We’re a company who has always taken a leading role in health and wellness,” Ms. McCarthy said. “This, to us, is a logical step.”
Anti-smoking and health advocates have lauded Wegmans action.
“We’re so thrilled that Wegmans has shown this kind of leadership, and we’re hoping that other people will follow suit,” Gretchen Leffler, Western New York regional vice president of the American Cancer Society, told The Buffalo News.
Matthew Myers, president of Tobacco-Free Kids, applauded Wegmans “for putting health and lives ahead of profits from selling deadly and addictive tobacco products.”
Not everyone, however, is applauding Wegmans.
Bobby Daminski, 27 and a consumer who doesn’t smoke, told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, “I hear they aren’t going to sell cigarettes anymore because it’s unhealthy, but they sell a lot of unhealthy things here.”
Discussion Questions: What is your reaction to Wegmans getting out of the tobacco retailing business? What will it mean for the chain’s position in the marketplace? Will it appear to be more of an authority on health issues, for example, as a result of this move?
[Author’s Comment] Target got out of cigarette sales in 1996 and has managed quite well since that decision.
Wegmans will do just fine also because, by and large, better-educated and more affluent consumers tend to be non-smokers. They also happen to be the same people who shop in Wegmans.
- Wegmans Snuffs Tobacco – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
- Wegmans will stop selling cigarettes, citing health concerns – Buffalo News
- Wegmans Sets Example for Food Industry With Decision to Stop Tobacco-Free Kids – PRNewswire-USNewswire/Reuters