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Facts about tobacco and pharmacies

  • Pharmacists are health care providers.
  • They are licensed and regulated by departments of health.
  • Tobacco products cause the early deaths of over 400,000 Americans every year.
  • Pharmacists stand against tobacco sales in pharmacies.
  • Both the American Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association have adopted statements on this issue. In addition, a survey administered to 1,168 pharmacists in California found that over 80% of practicing pharmacists were either against or strongly against sales of tobacco in pharmacies. 1
  • Many cities, states, and the federal government already restrict the sale and use of tobacco in order to protect the public's health.
  • States restrict sales of cigarettes near schools, sales of single cigarettes, and sales in vending machines in order to keep cigarettes out of the hands of children. Every state in the union as well as the District of Columbia also levies a cigarette tax (in addition to the federal cigarette tax), that helps to "deter children from starting to smoke and motivate adults to quit." See the American Lung Association website.
  • It is an inherent conflict of interest for pharmacies to dispense the medications that treat heart disease, lung disease, and cancer -- and then also sell tobacco.
  • Some of the medications dispensed at pharmacies to treat disease caused by tobacco include albuterol, ipratropium, salmeterol, budesonide, formoterol, levalbuterol, fluticasone, prednisone, metoprolol, carvedilol, captopril, furosemide, spironolactone, clopidogrel, pentoxifylline, cilostazol, morphine, and oxycodone. [Note: This is not an exhaustive list, and these medications are also prescribed for diseases not caused by tobacco].
  • Tobacco use is addictive; at any one time, many users want to quit but can't. 2
  • Ninety percent of adult smokers become regular smokers by the age of 19. 3
  • Knowing all this, why have large corporations continued to sell cigarettes in their pharmacies?
  • See the Wall Street Journal for direct quotes from CEOs themselves.



  • The phrase "Pharmacies are not ordinary stores, and tobacco is no ordinary product" is used by permission from Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
  • 1 KS Hudmon et al. Tobacco sales in pharmacies: time to quit. Tobacco Control 2006;15:35-38  [Original research]
  • 2 Pollin W. Why people smoke cigarettes. Statement developed from testimony delivered before the US Congress by William Pollin, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Comprehensive Smoking Prevention Education Act: hearings before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, US Senate, March 16, 1982, p 52).
  • 3 Tobacco Free Kids Fact Sheet
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