Tobacco Free Pharmacies

Studies have identified a clear link between retail tobacco marketing and youth smoking behaviors.  Some pharmacies are no longer selling tobacco products because they realize that tobacco sales do not support the health of their community.

What is the Problem?

  • Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S.
  • 28,000 NY lives lost each year from smoking-related illness.
  • 90% of smokers start before the age of 18.
  • Each day in New York State, the tobacco industry spends over half million dollars to market its products and 90 percent of it is devoted to in-store advertising.

Why is it important?

  • Tobacco sales in pharmacies undermine cessation efforts.
  • Conflict of interest for pharmacies to sell medicine that treat disease and sell tobacco products that cause disease.
  • The perception of pharmacies, reinforced by their marketing, is that they are associated with good health.

Communities rely on their neighborhood pharmacies and pharmacists as trusted points of healthcare.  Many pharmacists’ support tobacco-free pharmacies.  In 2009 the Pharmacists Society of NY passed a resolution supporting banning the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.

Where Tobacco Free Policies Exist

Rockland County, NYC and Albany County, as well as San Francisco, all provinces and territories in Canada, except British of Columbia, and over 87 municipalities in Massachusetts have banned the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.  As a result, National chains in Massachusetts (such as Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Walmart, Stop and Shop, Hannaford and Price Chopper) are already operating a model, without tobacco, that works.  These major chains such as CVS have already removed tobacco from their shelves and remain profitable.

Tobacco-Free pharmacies can decrease the density of retail stores and decrease youth exposure to tobacco products.

Learn more about Tobacco Free Pharmacies on our state website