It seems almost hypocritical that your neighborhood pharmacies are an integral part of the tobacco abuse supply line, but it's true. In an ironic sort of way, at your local pharmacy you can not only fill the prescriptions designed to improve your health and treat addictions, but also pick up some cigarettes to go along with your Chantix, Zyban, and nicotine patches. Nothing like one-stop shopping, huh?
Of course, many pharmacists are upset with this inherent conflict of interest to dispense the medications that treat heart disease, lung disease, and cancer -- and then also sell tobacco to their patients. But, since pharmacists aren't fully in control of their professional destiny anymore, they don't have much sway over their profit-driven corporate employers' decisions.
It's unfortunate because, according to Tobacco Free Pharmacies, a California survey reveals that over 80% of practicing pharmacists were either against or strongly against sales of tobacco in pharmacies. However, all is not lost.
Little by little, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals are taking their concerns to local lawmakers, who are successfully instituting legislative bans on the sale of tobacco in pharmacies where they have jurisdiction.
According to a recent report in Drug Topics magazine, pharmacies in San Francisco can no longer carry cigarettes, expanding the ban to apply to both grocery stores and "big box" stores that operate pharmacies. Other cities with tobacco-free ordinances for pharmacies include Boston, Needham, Newton, and Westford, Massachusetts.
Kudos to these pharmacists for their efforts to put your healthcare interests before profits.