Washington, DC - American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The data came from Porter Novelli’s Summer Styles, a national survey that found 66 percent of adults 18 and over were strongly or somewhat in favor of banning the sale of all tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores:
“The tremendous public support reflected in this survey for the removal of tobacco products from retail pharmacies’ shelves should be the final push they need to stop selling these products once and for all. Our nation’s pharmacies are playing an increasingly important role in promoting health and it is inconceivable to understand how any business involved in the health care delivery system can continue to sell a variety of tobacco products that are responsible for the deaths of millions of Americans.
As this study reveals, the public wants this absurd contradiction to come to an end. Two thirds of American adults, including nearly half of cigarette smokers and nearly half of smokers of other tobacco products, support removing all tobacco from pharmacies. We appeal to the remaining pharmacies to follow the lead of those who have already taken this bold action for the health of their customers. These national leaders and all pharmacies that have banned tobacco products deserve our highest praise. And for those pharmacies who haven’t, the message from the public you serve is clear: if you promote health, you should not be in the business of selling products that can lead to addiction and death.
Further, the ability to easily purchase cheap cigarettes is luring young people into a lifelong dependence. Just this past week, another study showed that pharmacies charged less for cigarettes than other stores. If we are to protect our children from a future of life-threatening health issues like heart disease and stroke, it is essential that the health care delivery community does everything possible to encourage tobacco-free living.
The association applauds those cities and states that are working towards or have already adopted tobacco-free pharmacy laws. We support these and all efforts to make our nation 100 percent tobacco free, including higher prices on tobacco products via taxes, passage of strong smoke-free laws, funding support for state tobacco prevention programs and raising the age of sale for tobacco to 21. Hopefully this new survey will prompt all of the nation’s pharmacies to join us in this fight by banning the sale of deadly tobacco products for good.”