Tobacco displays, sales in pharmacies inappropriate
Thursday, August 12, 2010 - 1:00 pm

To the Editor:

Tobacco use has a devastating effect on public health and well being. It is our nation’s number one cause of preventable death, claiming the lives of more than 440,000 people each year and costing the health care system close to $100 billion annually. In New York State alone 25,000 adults will die from tobacco-related illness each year. Almost 389,000 kids currently living in New York will ultimately die from tobacco use if the current trend continues.

There is no question that tobacco use is detrimental to one’s health. The fact has been common knowledge for years. Why then are tobacco products sold in pharmacies? The pharmacy is a place where people get the medications they need to improve their health, yet pharmacies also choose to promote the sale of debilitating tobacco products as well. One can often find nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum, and nicotine lozenges sold alongside the very cigarettes responsible for the grim statistics cited above. Why not offer nicotine replacement therapy along with consultation with a pharmacist, without also promoting the use of tobacco products?

The next time you go to your pharmacy, take a look at the size of the cigarette display. It might surprise you given the presumed purpose of a pharmacy. Take a minute to really think about the contradictory message they are sending to our youth.

Retail locations with pharmacies should make the effort to move beyond these counter-productive retail practices and take tobacco products off their shelves.

If you would like to learn more about the local Tobacco Free Community Partnership and its efforts to reduce youth smoking please contact me today at 229-3432.

Benjamin Todd

St. Lawrence County Tobacco

Program Coordinator