Tobacco Free Pharmacies – Excellent!

February 2014 – Recently CVS Pharmacy joined the ranks of the over 2,000 pharmacies in New York State that have agreed to not sell tobacco products in their stores. This is a good time to reflect and help more people to understand why this concept makes perfect and complete sense as a strategy to reduce social acceptability of smoking.

Tobacco is the only consumer product that, when used as intended, kills at least one half of its long term users – including nearly 25,400 New Yorkers each year. In 2008, the tobacco industry spent approximately 90% of their 10.5 billion dollar marketing budget on point-of-sale advertising because studies show that marketing at the point-of-sale influences smoking initiation among youth and stimulates purchasing among smokers trying to quit. Research tells us that reducing the availability of tobacco products helps people to quit smoking. Pharmacies are considered licensed health care facilities with missions driven by providing health products and services – because of this, the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies makes tobacco use seem more acceptable to children because this is where they go to get the medicine which helps them feel better. Would a doctor ever prescribe tobacco to a patient? No. Why is it not a conflict of interest for pharmacies, which provide health care, to also profit from harmful tobacco products known to cause cancer, heart and pulmonary disease? The Pharmacist Society of the State of New York (PSSNY) – the largest pharmacy association in the state representing nearly 2,700 pharmacists – demonstrated their support of these concepts by passing a resolution supporting putting an end to the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies back in 2009.

So thank you, CVS, Wegmans, Kmart, Target and all the other independent pharmacies and stores that have put the health of their consumers first; who are not afraid to stand tall in their commitment of doing so. For more information on tobacco free initiatives, visit

Posted by Morgen Irwin