Have you noticed cigarettes behind the counter in pharmacies? You may not have thought about this, but does it make sense for a pharmacy, whose mission is to improve the health of customers by providing drugs and products, to sell products that are indisputably the greatest preventable cause of cancer and heart disease?
If a hospital gift shop sold tobacco products, you would clearly think that was wrong, so why are pharmacies doing just that?
We’re in an era when the profession of the pharmacy is trying to elevate itself and participate at a greater level in healthcare. Pharmacists now graduate with doctoral degrees; they now routinely administer influenza vaccinations and want to interpret laboratory tests and adjust the doses of blood thinning and diabetes drugs without the intervention of a physician. With that expanded role, they shouldn’t be contributing to the demise of their patients by encouraging tobacco use.
It’s time for pharmacists to step up to the plate, turn down those dollars and stop selling tobacco in pharmacies.
So, I’m calling on pharmacies to ban sales of tobacco products. It’s 50 years late on this initiative, but better late than never. What can you do to help? Next time you pick up your prescription, tell the pharmacist that you find it unacceptable for the pharmacy to sell tobacco products. And send an email to the corporate leaders of those pharmacies.
The time has come.