Tobacco Free NY

Tobacco Free Pharmacies: A Prescription For Change

Posted by  //  December 18, 2012  //  Local Business

Pharmacies are the face of neighborhood healthcare. Simply take a look at your weekly flyer from one of our local pharmacies and you’ll see glaring messages and imagery of health and wellness. Many consumers frequently turn to pharmacists for medical information and advice. Flu and other immunizations are offered by many pharmacies. Pharmacists are one of the most trusted health care professionals and an important part of the health care team.

Pharmacies are in the business of helping make people better. So why is it that they push a harmful and highly addictive drug that causes cancer, heart and pulmonary diseases? It’s a conflict of interest for pharmacies, providers of healthcare, to also profit from the sale of tobacco. Tobacco sales in pharmacies are a significant temptation to those entering pharmacies to purchase nicotine-cessation products, and you’ll commonly find the stop smoking products next to the tobacco products. Tobacco products are responsible for the preventable death of 25,400 people in New York each year. Tobacco products are unique in the ability to cause harm to individuals and costs to the healthcare system and economy when used as intended. Tobacco is the only product that used as intended will cause morbidity and mortality to users

There are approximately 4,300 licensed pharmacies in New York, including those located in independent pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, chain drugstores, discount retail outlets and grocery stores. Currently, no tobacco products are sold at hospital or clinic pharmacies, Target and Wegmans stores and 85% of independent pharmacies. Cortland County has nine stores with pharmacies that also sell tobacco products.

In recent years, the cities of Boston and San Francisco have adopted tobacco-free pharmacy measures. The United States is the only country that allows its pharmacies to sell tobacco products. Selling tobacco products in pharmacies makes tobacco use seem more acceptable to children, especially when pharmacies typically have the largest square footage of tobacco displays near the cash register. Pharmacies and mass merchandisers averaged 50 and nearly 60 square feet of tobacco product display, respectively, equivalent to over 300 pack faces. Ending pharmacy tobacco sales will decrease its availability and contribute to de-normalizing its use.

For more information on this topic, go to www.tobaccofreenys.org and www.tobaccofreerx.org.

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