All Kinney Drugs will stop selling vaping products

To prevent youth access to nicotine products, all Kinney Drugs locations will soon halt sales on electronic cigarettes and vaping products.

This decision will be in effect for New York state locations on Aug. 1, while Vermont locations stopped selling these products on Monday.

Judith Cowden, senior director of marketing and advertising for Kinney Drugs, said this change is a result of the “alarming” statistics regarding the use of these products by teenagers and children.

Originally introduced as a smoking cessation product, e-cigarettes are now used by about 2 million middle and high school students, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of high school students reportedly using e-cigarettes rose by 75% from 2017 to 2018 and by 50% among middle-school students.

Kinney Drugs will continue to sell other smoking cessation products, such as patches and gum. The company’s pharmacists are also trained to assist patients looking to quit tobacco with its “Ready, Set, Quit” program.

Cowden said they will also continue their partnership with the American Heart Association to educate patients on the connections between tobacco use and the increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

In regard to the sale of tobacco products, Cowden said its stores will continue it for now.

“The company has been evaluating the sale of tobacco in our stores for quite some time … we will definitely continue to evaluate it,” Cowden said. “What we are focused on today is doing something about what has been called an epidemic of children using e-cigarettes, which could have a lifelong detrimental effect on their health and well-being.”

Brian Wekar, store manager at Kinney Drugs’ Washington Street location in Watertown, said he doesn’t believe this change will affect his store’s revenue and views it as a positive decision in the long-run.

“It’s a good thing we aren’t carrying these (products) anymore, especially if kids are getting them,” Mr. Wekar said. “We don’t sell a whole lot of them.”