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Walgreens to hike minimum age for store tobacco sales

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Walgreens has decided to raise its minimum age for tobacco sales several weeks after a top federal official chastised the drugstore chain for violating laws restricting access to cigarettes and other products.

Walgreens said Tuesday that it will require customers to be at least 21 years old to purchase tobacco in any of its more than 9,500 stores nationwide. That policy starts Sept. 1.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in March that Walgreens was a top violator of tobacco sales laws among pharmacies that sell those products. Rival CVS Health stopped several years ago.

Laws restricting tobacco sales vary, with several states allowing it for people under 21. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants to raise the minimum age to 21 nationally.

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