Pharmacies not the place for tobacco

Two major cities on opposite coasts have the right idea – they are not selling tobacco in any of their pharmacies. San Francisco and Boston are the leading cities taking the step towards preventing disease and promoting healthier habits for their residents by not offering tobacco products in their pharmacies. Several other cities in Massachusetts are joining the effort as well.

According to Tobacco Free NYS, 52 percent of New York state pharmacies are still selling tobacco products. Pharmacies are intended for customers to purchase remedies for many ailments as well as offering other daily household health-related products. Doctors prescribe medications to patients for many health conditions. Obviously, doctors do not prescribe tobacco or tobacco products. Although, tobacco cessation products are sold to encourage and assist smokers in their challenge to quit.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5 million premature deaths are attributable to tobacco each year. Since cigarette smoking is the primary known preventable cause of death, reducing the availability of and access to tobacco products supports people in their fight to quit.

It is a natural conflict of interest for pharmacies to dispense the medications that treat heart disease, lung disease and cancer while selling tobacco products. It is time to end tobacco sales at pharmacies in New York state. Providing health products and services is the mission of a pharmacy. Let’s keep it that way.

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Fulton County Public Health educator

Project Action member