Pharmacies should not sell tobacco products
Tobacco sales in pharmacies are inconsistent with the purpose of a pharmacy, which is to provide care, counseling and tools for health and wellness. Pharmacies are the only licensed health care facilities that sell tobacco. Recent reports show that although tobacco sales have decreased, there has been a 23 percent increase in pharmacy tobacco sales. Currently, 52 percent of pharmacies in New York State sell tobacco products.
Some pharmaceutical chains are getting out of the tobacco business. CVS Caremark recently announced it will cease tobacco sales in all of its stores in October. Other retailers should follow its example.
I applaud CVS for its landmark decision to advance public health. I hope that other pharmacies will soon align their mission statements with their daily practices. Local communities also have the opportunity to follow the lead of Massachusetts and remove tobacco sales from pharmacies.