Tobacco ban in pharmacies is STUPID

Most (if not all) of you have heard in the news about banning the sales of Tobacco products in pharmacies.  Now I’m sure some of you non-retail people are sitting back in your big expensive chairs and are saying “Well that’s great!  Smoking is bad! Hooray for common sense!  I’m a health care professional and I think smoking is poopy”.

Now I don’t smoke and probably never will (although how work has gone lately, a crack habit might be in order), but I feel the choice to sell or not sell something is up to the store owner/corporate office, NOT THE GOVERNMENT.

What if the psycho shit-eating psycho religious types got a bill passed in your city/state that said “No more birth control shall be sold in pharmacies”?  Pharmacists would revolt and riot!  Amazing how that double-standard of “its okay to ban something that -I- don’t use/doesn’t apply to me, but god forbid if someone else tries to ban something that I use (even though they don’t)!”

So, when does the point come where what you can-and-cannot stock be decided NOT by your professional judgment but by the lawmakers of your city and state (who are influenced by bribes and ‘incentives)? 

Think about that, then let me know if you still think having a city-wide ban on a product is a good idea in the long run.

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27 Comments

  1. mrhunnybun says:

    When would one’s professional judgement ever say that selling tobacco is a good idea? One of the bizarre things I noticed when in the US was that cigarettes and alcohol were sold in pharmacies. (Though I’m pretty sure I also went to a supermarket pharmacy that sold guns and ammunition!!)
    I see your point about a potential birth-control ban. But birth-control pills don’t kill 50% of the people that use them.
    By all means sell anything in your pharmacy, but you cannot ever say it is good professional judgement. It isn’t, it’s just business and money in the register.

  2. LTC-Tech says:

    As a Catholic, I don’t want to see birth control used because I think it inhibits a fertilized egg implanting – and that’s the same as an abortion to me.
    Last time I checked, however, I was neither a psycho, a shit-eater nor a psycho shit-eater. But hey, you guys in Cali do things differently.
    I do think that if you’re going to slur religious prolifers, you should go whole-hog and reword that line to read, “Thou shalt not sell birth control.” It’d fit the theme better.

  3. Jon says:

    Yeah this shit is stupid and pisses me off. Why not just go ahead and ban all candy and bad food for fatass people why they are at it. I don’t know how many diabetic/hypertensive/high cholesterol patients I see with bags of candy, ice cream,chocolate, and such.

  4. PharmAd4Lyfe says:

    The ban is a good idea.
    You bitch about your Medical folks suckling on the state tit, using your tax dollars. Tobacco products are clearly associated with increased incidence of diseases that end up costing you on your OWN insurance coverage. In the end, you pay for their lung/tongue/throat cancer with your premiums.
    Plus, it’s hypocritical to push pills + something that is a clear danger to the public health. IMO, they should be banned outright due to health concerns.
    I mean, you have this blog and you rally for this cause and that cause of the retail pharmacist, defend yourself from “clinical” pharmacists, and bitch about the current “education” of pharmacy students, but here’s the deal: you have to decide what you are.
    Are you a businessman or a health care professional? Schools these days are clinical, clinical, clinical…. Retail these days is simply business, business, business, and that’s where most students end up. At the end of the day, all the bullshit aside, all you do is sell pills. It’s what I did. All retail pharmacists do. Bottom line, you sell a product, that’s it.
    You can’t have the best of both worlds. You can either be a medical professional (ie, someone who wouldn’t sell tobacco to “patients”) who gets whatever meager respect patients have left or a business man, who gets no more respect than the kid running the register at McDonalds, who only deals with “customers.” You just can’t have it both ways.
    That’s one of the core problems with pharmacy today.

  5. Joe says:

    I love freedom. To bad I don’t live in a free country.
    I want the right to gamble on the internet when I choose, smoke a blunt if I wanted to and bang hookers if I so chose.
    Maybe I should leave America.
    I agree with you TAP. I have libertarian ideals. Basically everyone is free to do as they choose as long as it does not impose harm upon your fellow mankind.
    Sigh, pass the Johnnie Walker.

  6. Shmoo says:

    The days when business could decide for themselves is over. Welcome to socialism and saving the stupid from themselves. Once the government has their talons in, its over and done. Why don’t we have more businesses? Because government has made it impossible to run one, tax it to death, and dictate what it can and can’t do.
    Of course, if your company is “too big to fail” step up to the trough for a bailout.

  7. YOU ARE THE SHIT TAP!!!
    I’m going to have to agree with you on this one. I think have a city wide ban on a product is a bad idea. Let people buy what they want. That is what America is about right?
    I’m inclined to think that the idiot who came up with this idea of a banning of tobacco products in pharmacies…well I dunno but his game is kinda weak
    And i know that he cannot approach me
    Cuz i’m lookin’ like class and he’s lookin’ like trash
    Can’t get wit’ no deadbeat ass
    So (no) (yea, yea)
    I don’t want your number (no)
    I don’t want to give you mine and (no)
    I don’t want to meet you nowhere (no)
    I don’t want none of your time (no)
    I don’t want no scrub
    A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
    Hanging out the passenger side
    Of his best friend’s ride
    Trying to holler at me

  8. Hollis says:

    Ok, I read your column regularly, and you usually make sense. But as a former smoker (now that I’m in pharmacy school it’s a little embarrassing lighting up in front of my classmates), banning of cigarette sales in pharmacies makes sense. It’s hypocritical to sell something in a pharmacy that kills so many people every year. The birth control analogy isn’t quite the same, since birth control in some way improves reproductive health for women, and it wouldn’t be banned on the basis that the banners do not use it. They’re ethically against it. The banning of cigarette sales is common sense in terms of what a pharmacy and its employees are supposed to represent. While store owners should be able to sell what they want, it depends on the kind of store it is. A standalone pharmacy is a healthcare setting, regardless of the horrors of the retail drive thru. True, cigs are still sold in grocery stores and wally worlds with pharmacies, but those operations are essentially separate from the rest of the store and it’s not as straightforward to point out the hypocrisy of the cig sales alongside drugs in those settings. However, when you’ve got “pharmacy” in your establishment name, health harming products being sold there just doesn’t make sense, even to the regular customer, and I know because I’ve had it pointed it out to me. But what can I do.
    /super long rant that isn’t quite clear
    I love everything else! :)

  9. HIlarious gas, indeed says:

    In my state, which has one of the highest rate of smokers, as well as lung cancer (and not from asbestos or coal mining), there is a lot of local legislation that is getting passed to limit where, how, and when smoking can occur, and I don’t mind it one little bit, When one looks at the number one cause of lung cancer, and what the impact of treatment costs to the public, it seems only reasonable to not only enforce the underage restrictions but to limit it altogether, not even from a corporate decision-making standpoint–because we all know that corporate ownership is not necessarily in the same state that the smoking occurs. (Now, when truly authentic black licorice is found to cause cancer, and drugstores will be banned from selling it, then I may have a cow. I live in a college town, and also in a state where alcohol is not sold on Sunday, and I wouldn’t mind extending the ban to two days of the week on that either.

  10. Tim says:

    just be thankful the government is saving us from ourselves. We are all too stupid to make our own choices.
    how ironic that my verification word is Prisoner

  11. ryan says:

    I must say if i could find you I would beat the living crap out of you .. you wine and complain non stop i read your post and im just amaze how stupid you are … calling people junkies and treating people like your better then everybody … your the type of pharmacist that treats people with real problems like shit because we rely on are meds to live a normal life .. What you need to do is just quite simple ..SHUT UP. .. i love to find where you work and just slap and see you cry ..

  12. kk says:

    Just to address ryan above me here, if you think he’s so stupid and accusing people of being junkies you’re answer is pretty simple: Don’t read it. And maybe we call them “junkies” because they really are.

  13. #1 Dinosaur says:

    I agree that bans of the sale of legal substances make no sense. The only thing a government can do is to make a substance illegal. ie, You cannot sell heroin or marijuana in your store even if you wanted to.
    Now if you want to talk about criminalizing tobacco, that’s another — very interesting — topic altogether, given the lack of redeeming social and medical value of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
    #1 Dinosaur

  14. welsh pharmacist says:

    I totatally agree with the ban on cigarette smoking. We should have a say on what we sell, its our professional choice, but in my professional opinion, those cancer sticks would sit on the shelf and rot, so whats the point in selling them? My company very recently made a ban on all chocolate/sweets and carbonated drinks, which I also approve of. If you want healthcare come here, if you want food,booze,tobacco etc. go to any supermarket or newsagent and I’m sure they’ll have them.
    and Ryan, sod off and stop reading the posts if you are offended by a person who labels himself the angry pharmacist, actually being angry. We all love to bitch and whine about the bad aspects of our jobs, same as everyone else in every other job. does that mean we dont do our job properly, no. I dont if/what job you had, but i’m sure you’d bitch about it if your customers came in and tried screwing you around every day.

  15. student says:

    Ok, so lets ban everything bad for us: potato chips, ice cream, whole milk, caffeine, SUGAR, CANDY BARS, egg yolk, …….etc.
    AND do we really need to form the long list of things you Catholics do and shouldn’t do based on your religion? Oh wait, consciously do what you want and then wipe your ass clean with a formal confession.

  16. frodi says:

    This is not an issue here in Ireland. There is no need for a ban as pharmacists here consider it unethical to sell tobacco. If you want to be taken seriously as a healthcare provider then then you have to accept that it is not appropriate to be selling tobacco (or alcohol) in a healthcare setting. To me that’s the difference between a drug store and a pharmacy.

  17. Canpharm says:

    I love ya TAP and I agree with 99.99% of the time but you are wrong on this one. Health care professionals shouln’t sell carcinogens to people not matter what the profit margins are. They did this in Canada as well but the big chain drug stores found a loop hole by simply building a separate entrace to a separate tobacco room. ie nothing has changed. It made the pharmacy associations feel good about themselves for a while but pharmacies are still selling tobacco products. It’s a joke. I know it’s big money selling tobacco but it’s just not the right thing to do.

  18. PolicyWonk says:

    If the US Congress had any balls they would tie Tobacco sales in with Federal dollars? You want to get Medicade/Medicare $$ you can’t sell tabacco. It really is a public health issue, the reduction in tobacco use would save us all money.

  19. libertarienne says:

    I have to agree with TAP here. It is not the business of the gov’t to say what can be sold in a private business. It is a legal substance. It’d be like saying “You can’t sell sugared items because they’re bad…m’kay?”. Sugar is a nasty, addictive substance that could kill diabetics and cause obesity and heart problems, etc…
    It’s ridiculous. People are going to smoke, just as sure as they’re going to snort their pills/smoke crack/drink themselves stupid and proceed with other various self-destructive habits. Why not let the crackheads get a pack of Marlboro Reds at 6 bucks a pack while they try to get that early Soma or Vi-co-dan refill. Why punish the private business owner by taking away that opportunity for profit if Joe Crackhead is just go go across the street to the Shell for the same product anyway?

  20. Jason says:

    I actually have to laugh at some of the comments, did the people saying this is a good idea actually read this article. The reasons they state are all health reasons, not one of those people caught that what was happening was infringement on the rights of the store to sell a legal product. I would ask all these post writers to re-read the article.

  21. OUT FOR LIFE says:

    This is a symptom of a far larger problem: the absolutely excessive invasiveness of government in our lives. We fought the Revolutionary War and founded this country over less taxation than the government is currently levying. Remember it was taxation without representation. Don’t we have that now:
    1.) 65% of Americans are steadfastly against illegal immigration and amnesty, and yet our politicians see fit to be lenient on it (big corps like cheap labor and they pad our elected officials pockets).
    2.) Most Americans are against using or tax dollars to bail out big industries and banks, and yet miraculously they are bailed out (Watch the dog and pony show on C-SPAN, Oh the congressmen and senators are all really pissed off at those bad bankers, and then they slip them the check under the table and take a cut in lobbying perks.
    This is taxation without representation, or in other words, give us your money, we’ll do what we want with it, and you shut up.

  22. Dapp says:

    While I agree with your post, I think (and I’m sure you have probably rolled this around in your head for a few seconds) the government is banning this product mainly because of its danger to human health. That’s where the double standard becomes illegitimate. I know smokers who complain about seeing two guys or two girls kiss and say that they shouldn’t be exposed to such devistating actions. Those same people snag themselves a cigarette and start puffing away and blowing it in people’s faces. So who is right and who is wrong?. I get that the government is “trying” to help, but once again I think it’s the store’s decision. Many of which, I’m sure would never give up selling tobacco products because it helps bring in money to their establishment

  23. sven says:

    SF, band cigarettes in pharmacy but legalize marijuana. dumbfucks.

  24. JS says:

    Pharmacies are a place where people go for health needs. Whether you believe it or not, there is an implicit association with health maintenance or improvement and pharmacies. To sell cigarettes alongside nicotine replacement therapies, and prescriptions is just not logical or ethical.
    If you are upset and want to sell smokes, go open another type of shop. If you want to sell health care products, don’t sell cigarettes.
    The government is not intervening in a trivial matter, this is a public health issue, a health care issue, and an economic issue. When smoking is not the leading cause of preventable death, then maybe you have a point.
    And as far as the birth control “analogue”, the religious objects (from what I gather) seem to be moral. There are some health issues with some birth control, but if you talk about condoms then the health implications of use drop. So, tobacco control is not based upon imaginary grounds (religious morals). Furthermore, last time I checked procreation is a component of human behavior and existence. Sure, birth control intervenes in this process, but the behavior is one inherent in human beings. Last time I checked, smoking cigarettes, something that causes death and severe illness, is not human nature.

  25. Laughing at Liberals says:

    Liberals…. aka Fascists. All the same. Control YOUR life while they are out of control. Tell you how to live, while they live as criminals, child molesters, drug abuses, and the list goes on. Government as a nanny? You weak minded dolts. Are you so incapable of making your own decisions that you actually crave the direction of someone else? Good Lord, how will this world ever survive with sappy little weaklings like you whining b*tches around? How bout you grow a set and take responsibility for yourselves!
    Liberals… lmao

  26. Anon says:

    The battle was already lost when cities/counties/etc began banning smoking in restaurants. It’s the exact same principle. Businesses should be able to determine how they run their business, what they allow on their privately owned property, etc. We have an education system in which people receive free education until the age of eighteen. This is the government’s opportunity to educate the people (and indoctrinate/pacify/whatever). Afterward, you’re supposed to be capable of making your own decisions. This goes for individuals and businesses. But whatever. That philosophy is rapidly dying. I totally agree with you though.

  27. Labrat says:

    Thankfully here in MN we don’t have mandated bans on Tobacco sales. There was a local chain Pharmacy thet recently went out of business; a few years back they decided to quit selling Tobacco. This long established business seemed to die a long, slow death; nobody mentioned that their decision to stop selling cigs was a factor, but I really think that it was. You see, I work as a CPhT at Walgreens and we DO sell Tobacco and it’s sold up at the front register only. Our customers and patients just want a one stop shopping trip with no attitude about buying a legal product; otherwise they will go elseware.

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