Most US Adults Favor Prohibiting Tobacco Sales in Retail Pharmacies

More communities across the country have implemented policies prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores in an effort to respond to pharmacists’ concerns about their professional obligation to promote health and wellness among patrons in their stores.

More communities across the country have implemented policies prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores in an effort to respond to pharmacists’ concerns about their professional obligation to promote health and wellness among patrons in their stores. In fact, a recent study of attitudes toward prohibiting tobacco product sales in pharmacy stores found that most US adults favor prohibiting tobacco product sales in pharmacy stores.

The authors of the study, Teresa W. Wang, PhD, MS, and colleagues, all affiliated with the CDC, concluded that eliminating tobacco product sales in retail pharmacies may reinforce pharmacy stores’ efforts to promote wellness, and further cultivate social climates that reduce the desirability, acceptability, and accessibility of tobacco. The study is published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Among all adults surveyed, 66.1% “strongly” or “somewhat” favored prohibiting tobacco product sales in pharmacy stores. (A total of 20.1% were “somewhat opposed” and 13.8% “strongly opposed” the idea.) Favorability was 46.5% among current cigarette smokers, 66.3% among former smokers, and 71.8% among never-smokers. Among current non-cigarette tobacco users, favorability was 47.8%; among former users it was 63.2%, and among never-users it was 71.4%. Favorability was more likely among women than among men, but was less likely among adults 25 to 44 years of age and 45 to 64 years of age compared with those aged 65 years of age or older, those with annual incomes of $15,000 to $24,999 compared with $60,000 or greater, current cigarette smokers compared with never-smokers, and current and former non-cigarette tobacco users compared with never-tobacco users.

The study is the first to document that current users of non-cigarette tobacco products are also less likely to show favorability for policies removing tobacco from retail pharmacies than never-users.

“Non-cigarette tobacco product users are an important subgroup to consider, as tobacco-free pharmacy policies typically address the diversity of tobacco products available on the market,” the study authors noted.

Favorability about the idea of restricting tobacco from retail pharmacies ranged from 64.6% among non-Hispanic blacks to 70.4% among non-Hispanic other races; from 61.7% among adults with less than a high school education to 70.1% among those with a college degree; from 48.0% among adults with annual household income less than $15,000 to 69% among adults with incomes $60,000 or greater; and from 63.9% in the South to 70.2% in the West.

The data used in the study were derived from the 2014 Summer Styles internet survey of 4269 adults 18 years of age and older who were asked, “Do you favor or oppose banning the sale of all tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores?” The responses were “strongly favor,” “somewhat favor,” “somewhat oppose,” and “strongly oppose.”

Researchers calculated the prevalence ratios using multivariate Poisson regression to determine sociodemographic correlates of favorability (“strongly” or “somewhat”). Data were self-reported, which could result in misreporting of measures such as tobacco use, the study authors acknowledge.