"Moreover, if people understood that retail outlets that plan to promote health, provide pharmacy services, and house retail clinics are no longer going to sell tobacco products, the social unacceptability of tobacco use will be substantially reinforced," the physicians write. "Indeed, the continued sale (of cigarettes) would appear to sanction the most unhealthy habit a person can maintain."
Noting that pharmacies in other developed countries do not sell cigarettes, the authors maintain that if drugstores don't make this effort voluntarily, federal or state regulatory action would be appropriate.
Others have endorsed the elimination of tobacco sales in pharmacies. Among them, the American Pharmacists Association in 2010 called for the discontinuation of sales and the end to license renewals of pharmacies that sell the products. The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association called for a ban on tobacco sales in pharmacies, and the American Medical Association passed a resolution opposing tobacco sales in products.
Moreover, some cities have already banned tobacco sales in pharmacies, including San Francisco and Boston.
The toll from smoking is monumental. Smoking is attributed to the deaths of more than 480,000 people in the United States annually, and costs $132 billion in direct medical costs, the physicians write, depicting it as "one of the most important public health challenges of the 21st century."
During the last 40 years, tobacco control efforts, including cigarette taxes, smoke-free legislation, and a growth in smoking cessation programs, have reduced the prevalence of smoking in the U.S. from approximately 42 percent of American adults in 1965 to 18 percent today.
"Yet more interventions are needed," the scientists write in the JAMA article. "The rate of reduct
|Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez|
University of California - San Francisco