NEW YORK - Young people from around the country gathered Thursday morning in Manhattan to call on Walgreens to stop selling tobacco.

Demonstrators held a rally outside the Park Hyatt hotel, where a Walgreens shareholders meeting was being held.

They want the pharmacy chain to let shareholders vote on whether a study should be conducted on the effects of selling tobacco.

"Whenever youth are exposed to the point-of-sale marketing from the tobacco industry, they are more likely to start using tobacco, and tobacco in a pharmacy sends the wrong message as far as what health truly means," said one rally attendee.

"Most people who start smoking start smoking as a young a person, so it's incredibly important that young people have the tools, the skills and the knowledge to reisst this product and ultimately lead tobacco-free lives," said another rally participant.

The protest was organized by anti-smoking group Truth.

It says it has collected 5,000 signatures from young people asking Walgreens to stop selling tobacco.