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Open Access Research article

Tobacco sales in pharmacies: a survey of attitudes, knowledge and beliefs of pharmacists employed in student experiential and other worksites in Western New York

Danielle M Smith1*, Andrew J Hyland1, Cheryl Rivard1, Edward M Bednarczyk2, Peter M Brody2 and James R Marshall1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA

2 School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:413  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-413

Published: 6 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Pharmacies are venues in which patients seek out products and professional advice in order to improve overall health. However, many pharmacies in the United States continue to sell tobacco products, which are widely known to cause detrimental health effects. This conflict presents a challenge to pharmacists, who are becoming increasingly more involved in patient health promotion activities. This study sought to assess Western New York (WNY) area pharmacists’ opinions about the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies, and pharmacists’ opinions on their role in patient smoking cessation.

Methods

Participants responded to two parallel surveys; a web-based survey was completed by 148 university-affiliated pharmacist preceptors via a list based sample, and a mail-based survey was completed by the supervising pharmacist in 120 area pharmacies via a list-based sample. The combined response rate for both surveys was 31%. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed to determine any significant differences between the preceptor and supervising pharmacist survey groups.

Results

Over 75% of respondents support legislation banning the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. Over 86% of respondents would prefer to work in a pharmacy that does not sell tobacco products. Differences between preceptor and supervising pharmacist groups were observed. Action regarding counseling patients was uncommon among both groups.

Conclusions

Pharmacists support initiatives that increase their role in cessation counseling and initiatives that restrict the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies. These data could have important implications for communities and pharmacy practice.

Keywords:
Tobacco sales; Pharmacists; Preceptors; Public health policy; Survey research; Pharmacies