Wegmans Kicking the Tobacco Habit

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. said Friday that as of Sunday, Feb. 10, it would no longer carry cigarettes and other tobacco products. Until that date, only remaining inventory will be available in stores, with no new product ordered, the chain said.

“As a company, we respect a person’s right to smoke, but we also understand the destructive role smoking plays in health,” Danny Wegman said in a statement. Store signage informing shoppers of the decision is couched in similar terms.

In a letter to employees, c.e.o. Danny Wegman and his daughter Colleen, the president, said Wegmans would also offer a smoking-cessation program to associates.

Director of media relations Jo Natale told Progressive Grocer that the smoking-cessation program would roll out later this month, but that no further details had been shared with employees yet.

Although smoking has declined in recent years, tobacco is still a “very profitable category,” according to Natale, who wouldn’t disclose specific sales numbers for the category at Wegmans. Health concerns have trumped any revenue or profits concerns, according to the retailer.

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