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NORTH TONOWANDA, N.Y. - Budwey's Supermarket here reportedly said it has decided that it will no longer sell cigarettes after its current stock runs out in about a week, which appeared to be a direct response to Rochester, N.Y.-based chain Wegmans' own decision to discontinue selling tobacco.
Budwey's owner Frank Budwey said that Wegmans' decision helped influence him to discontinue selling smokes. Budwey's Buffalo, N.Y. store has already stopped carrying cigarettes, he added.
"I have a brother who has lung cancer," Budwey told the Tonowanda News. "I personally am a nonsmoker. It's the right thing to do, and [public health officials] have proven it to us over and over again. It's the right thing for the health of the community."
Beyond health concerns, the cigarette business doesn't bring in much money as it used to, admitted Budwey, explaining that profits at his Tonowanda store from the category have plummeted from $20,000 to a mere $1,000, due to such factors as proximity of the store to American Indian reservations where customers can buy a carton for as much as $15 less.
Another factor in the decision is that grocery stores that are caught selling cigarettes to minors can have their lottery licenses revoked.
Although Budwey said he was worried about driving away existing shoppers who are also smokers, he said shoppers have been supportive of the new policy so far.