By the Latino Coordinating Center for a Tobacco-Free California
The Latino Coordinating Center for a Tobacco-Free California (LCC) recognizes and applauds Vallarta Supermarkets for their decision to remove tobacco products from most of their stores throughout California.
This decision makes Vallarta Supermarkets the first and largest grocer in California to remove tobacco products from its shelves.
Vallarta Supermarkets’ choice to remove tobacco products from 34 of its grocery stores occurs in a period in which tobacco continues to harm Latino families nationwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), four of the five leading causes of death among Latinos – cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes – are linked to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.
In California, nearly one million Latino adults use tobacco, making Latinos the second largest ethnic group to use tobacco in the state. According to the California School Tobacco Survey, 8.0 percent of Latino youth used tobacco in 2019 – 2020 with the majority (90.5 percent) using flavored tobacco products.
Vallarta Supermarket’s trailblazing move to stop selling tobacco products at 34 of its stores reduces the availability and accessibility of tobacco products that may reduce the initiation of tobacco use among Latino youth. It may also encourage Latino adults who currently use tobacco to begin their journey towards quitting.
Grocers should not depend on revenue from the sales of tobacco, products that are harmful to the health of their clients. We commend Vallarta Supermarkets for taking a step towards influencing better health in the communities they serve.