New York City pharmacies will no longer sell cigarettes or other tobacco products as of 2019.
Around 500 stores will be pulling the products from their shelves on Tuesday، January 1، according to the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The ban includes businesses that contain pharmacies، such as supermarkets and big-box stores، reported The Wall Street Journal.
It's part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's sweeping legislation designed to drastically decrease the rate of smoking.
'Pharmacies are places of health and should not sell deadly consumer products،' the mayor's office said in a statement in 2017 when the bill was signed. Deputy Health Commissioner Dr Sonia Angell says the move will help with the city's goal of slashing the number of New York smokers by 160،000 over the next three years.
'It's important that we make pharmacies places that promote health for those trying to quit and that we reduce exposure so our youth aren't more likely to start smoking،' she told The Journal.
CVS Health، the largest pharmacy retail chain in the country، became the first to stop selling tobacco products in its stores in September 2014.
Spokesmen for Walgreens، Duane Reade، and Rite Aid have all promised to observe the ban.
According to the city's health department، about 860،000 adults and 13،000 high school students smoke.
Both of these numbers are at their lowest levels in recorded history، and several efforts have been led to drive them even lower.
Last year، Mayor de Blasio raised the base price of cigarettes from $10.50 to $13، which makes New York home to the most expensive cigarettes in the US.
Additionally، a number of ads have aired on TV showing former smokers suffering serious health consequences from their previous habit including no voice box، amputations and cancer.