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    Help stamp out pharmacy tobacco sales

    It has been 10 years since Drug Topics  published our Viewpoint article, "Make New Year's Resolution: Stub Out Tobacco," [Anh Lê, Frederick S. Mayer, and Sarah Elisabeth Curi, Vol. 148, No. 1, January 12, 20040], in which we called on pharmacies and pharmacists nationwide to stop selling cigarettes.  In the same issue, Fred Gebhart's article, "Some chains still resist pulling tobacco products," referred to a presentation made by Fred Mayer at the American Public Health Association Meeting in San Francisco in November 2003:

    "If pharmacist and public health advocate Frederick Mayer, RPh, MPH, had his way, pharmacies nationwide would not sell tobacco products. ‘You can't advertise yourself as the best pharmacy in town while you sell cigarettes that kill people. If pharmacies are serious about promoting health, we have to form coalitions to get tobacco out of pharmacies just like we have gotten handguns and ammunitions out of chain stores. We are in business to make people healthy, not sell them products whose purpose is to kill.’”

    As a registered pharmacist and public health advocate and activist, Fred Mayer has worked on the issue of stamping out tobacco sales at pharmacies for over 50 years, and proudly got rid of tobacco sales at the pharmacy he owned and operated in Sausalito, California.


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      Why should we decide to NOT sell a product that is legal to use in every state? Why should we be willing to give up the profit that can be made on tobacco and put our stores at further risk of going out of business? Pharmacies sell plenty of products that are detrimental to health and I'm not just talking about ding dongs and pepsi. Opiates, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates are all potentially addictive and could cause a patient to become drowsy and lead to accidents involving innocent people. Should we decide to not sell these drugs? What about OTC ibuprofen? Too much of that can cause a person to get a stomach ulcer. Maybe it would be better if people just bought their ibuprofen at the gas station. I think that the pharmacy is the perfect place to sell tobacco. Nicotine is a drug. Pharmacists are drug experts. Make the connection. Interacting with a customer making a tobacco purchase gives us the opportunity to intervene in a positive way. We can counsel people on the best method for stopping tobacco use (if they want to quit) and in that way have a positive impact on their health. Nobody at the gas station can give that kind of advice.
    • Mr. NHoesl
      Recently a group of attorneys generals representing 28 states and territories have sent a letter to five of the largest pharmacy retailers in the country, urging them to follow CVS's example. Let's set s deadline of November 20, which is The American Cancers "Great American Smokeout Day to be the last of all tobacco sales in pharmacies. Nicholas Hoesl, R.PH.
      If the attorneys general feel so strongly about tobacco maybe they should do something to make it illegal in those 28 states. But, no. They don't have the political clout or fortitude to even try. So they've done something meaningless that makes it look like they have something to say about it. Corvettes go really fast, y'know. Plenty of corvette drivers exceed the speed limit. Maybe those attorneys general should send a letter to chevrolet.