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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Tobacco an Occupational Hazard: The Case Against Cigarette Sales by Pharmacies

Smoking continues to be a two edged sword in workers' compensation claims. Smokers in the workplace cause serious and sometimes fatal consequences to both themselves (synergistically with other toxic substances in the workplace) and their co-workers (environmental tobacco smoke exposures). On the flip side is the employer's defense that the smoking habit is not work-related and a pre-existing or co-existing disease caused by habit and not compensable. Nevertheless, public opinion continues to trend against permissible smoking and for the sale of cigarettes. Today's post is shared from :
Tobacco-free pharmacy policies could help reduce access to tobacco products and exposure to tobacco product advertising, as well as de-normalize tobacco use,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “By eliminating tobacco sales, pharmacies can also help increase awareness of the health consequences of smoking and better support their customers’ management of tobacco-related diseases.”

Additional Findings:

Those who believe pharmacies should not sell tobacco include:
  • 62 percent of men and 70 percent of women
  • 65 percent of non-Hispanic blacks, 66 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 67 percent of Hispanics
  • 67 percent of adults ages 18 to 24, 64 percent of adults ages 25 to 44, 65 percent of adults ages 45 to 64, and 72 percent of adults 65 and older
  • 47 percent of current cigarette smokers, 66 percent of former cigarette smokers, and 72 percent of never cigarette smokers
  • 48 percent of current non-cigarette tobacco users, 63 percent of former non-cigarette tobacco users, 71 percent of never non-cigarette tobacco users
The data came from Porter Novelli’s Summer Styles, a nationally representative web-based survey of 4,269 U.S. adults age 18 and older. They were asked, “Do you favor or oppose banning the sale of all tobacco products in retail pharmacy stores?” More than 66 percent said they were strongly or somewhat in favor.

Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., responsible for 480,000 deaths a year. Tobacco use is an established concern among pharmacists, whose professional obligation is to promote the health of their patients. More than 16 million Americans currently live with a smoking-related illness, and cigarette smoking can complicate chronic disease management. Smokers can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit for help to quit.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thomson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  has been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.