Tobacco Free Pharmacies

Tobacco Free Pharmacies Will Decrease the Density of Retail Sellers of Tobacco and Decrease Youth Exposure.

Restricting the sale of tobacco in pharmacies helps reduce the consumption, availability, visibility, and social acceptability of tobacco use in our local communities1.

The more locations where tobacco is sold, the more opportunities there are for youth to be exposed to tobacco products. More than 90 percent of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy. The more this exposure happens, the more desensitized youth become to tobacco products and find smoking acceptable. This creates a community where youth are more likely than not to use tobacco products10.

For adults that are trying to quit, the more locations that sell tobacco equals more temptations, thus making it harder for people who are trying to quit2.

The American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with many other health professionals overwhelmingly support a ban on pharmacy sales of tobacco products3.

In NYS, pharmacies and other retailers average 50 square feet of tobacco product displays, respectively; equivalent to over 300 pack faces4. This gives youth an impression that tobacco products are easily accessible and that using tobacco is acceptable5.

Pharmacies are a trusted partner in healthcare.  Selling tobacco is a contradiction to their mission since tobacco is the only legal product sold in America that when used as directed kills up to half of its long-term users6.

The U.S. is the only place where tobacco products can be found for sale in pharmacies6. Pharmacies promote themselves as part of the health provider system.  Pharmacies often provide services like immunizations, screenings, wellness, programs, clinics, and educational events9, and yet over half of them sell tobacco, mostly being large chains like Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Duane Reade7. This availability in pharmacies leads to a false assumption that pharmacist support its use and legitimizes its consumption8.

Wegmans, Target, and now CVS plus numerous other privately owned pharmacies do not currently sell tobacco.

With more and more supporters each day this initiative is gaining momentum.  This issue has been being pushed for since 1970. In California the jurisdictions of Richmond, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County have tobacco-free pharmacy laws.  Also, in Massachusetts, some of the communities with this type of law include Boston, Everett, Fall River, Lancaster, Newton, Pittsfield, Southborough, Walpole, and Worcester. As for New York, Rockland County is the first and only county in the state to pass a tobacco-free pharmacy law, which was passed in January 2017.

To find out where tobacco free retailers are located near you, and to write letters to companies that have yet to go tobacco free visit



1Brief for Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, Public Health Institutes, et al. as Amici Curiae Supporting Appellees at 5, Phillip Morris USA. INC. v. City of S.F., 957 F. Supp. 1330 (1997) (No. 08-17649), WL 1063781.

2How Do Tobacco Retail Displays Affect Cessation Attempts? Findings from a Qualitative Study, Hoek J., Gifford H., Pirikahu G., et al. 2010, Tobacco Control, 19(4): 334-337,

3”Ending Sales of Tobacco Products in Pharmacies” Brennan, Troyen A., MD MPH, CVS Caremark, JAMA, Viewpoint, published online February 5, 2014,

4New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program, StatShot Vol. 5, No. 1/January 2012,

5 A Report of the Surgeon General “Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults” 2012,

6World Health Organization, Tobacco Facts,

7 Prescription for Change, Tobacco Free New York,

8 Eliminating the Sale of Tobacco Products in Pharmacies, American Heart Association, June 4, 2009,

9 The Pharmacy’s New Role in Providing Healthcare Services, O’Dea, Jim, PM 360, Panorama, January 23, 2014,

10ChangeLabSolutions. A Prescription for Health: Tobacco Free Pharmacies.

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