Tobacco should not be sold in Pharmacies: Canadian Cancer Society

    January 18 to 24 is National Non-Smoking Week

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon
Division today announced they are calling for more stringent laws which would
see the removal of tobacco products from any retail location that contains a
    The Canadian Cancer Society is urging the BC government to reconsider its
view that it is acceptable to sell cigarettes in pharmacies. British Columbia,
Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Yukon are the only remaining jurisdictions in
Canada to still allow the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
    "During National Non-Smoking Week, we are calling on policymakers to work
quickly to reassert BC's leadership position in tobacco control," said Kathryn
Seely the Canadian Cancer Society's manager of public issues. "Cigarettes -
which can kill when used directly as intended - should not be sold where
products are available to improve a person's health."
    Seely notes "Selling tobacco products in pharmacies sends a mixed message
to smokers and to those most at risk to begin smoking: young people. Including
tobacco products with the sale of vitamins and medicines suggests that tobacco
is acceptable."
    Simply stated, the sale of tobacco products in retail locations that
contain a pharmacy is incompatible with the position of the pharmacist as a
health-care professional and the image of a pharmacy as a health centre.
    In British Columbia, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada have recently
filed a complaint with the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia,
alleging a pharmacist's unethical behaviour for selling tobacco products.
    "Tobacco kills. Selling tobacco in pharmacies gives false and dangerous
credibility to cigarettes," states Dr. Milan Khara Clinical Director of the
VCH Tobacco Dependence Clinic and member of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
"Tobacco is not compatible with health and the role of the pharmacist is not
compatible with that of tobacco vendor."
    A number of independently-owned pharmacies in BC do not sell tobacco.
Macdonald's Prescriptions has been serving the lower mainland since 1926, "We
believe in helping to educate and support our patients in healthy choices. We
are proud to say that we've never sold tobacco products," said Vince Zucarro,
co-owner of Macdonald Prescriptions and Medical Supplies. "We offer products
and services that assist people in quitting smoking - not starting."
    An Ipsos Reid public opinion poll conducted for the Canadian Cancer
Society found that nearly two thirds (64%) of British Columbians would support
regulations prohibiting the sale of tobacco product in retail locations that
contain a pharmacy.
    "It's clear British Columbians support action that will protect our youth
and those trying to quit from the conflicting message of pharmacies selling
cigarettes," said Seely. "Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable
cause of death and disease in BC, killing more than 6,000 British Columbians
each year. Cigarette smoking causes about 30 per cent of cancer deaths in
Canada and about 85 per cent of lung cancer cases. In addition, second-hand
smoke is linked to the death of up to 140 British Columbians each year."
    BC's smoking rates are at 14%, the lowest in the country, but still
behind Utah's smoking rate, which was 12.7% when Salt Lake City hosted the
Olympic Games. If British Columbia wants to be the healthiest host of an
Olympic Games, we need to commit to leading once again in tobacco control; to
stop children from smoking and assist people to quit.

    Since 1938, the Canadian Cancer Society has operated as a national
charitable organization that provides valuable cancer information services,
funds research and educates Canadians on cancer risks. In British Columbia and
the Yukon, the Society works with approximately 20,000 volunteers in over 80
communities, has funded $23 million in B.C.-based research over the last five
years including nine new research grants in 2007/08 just under $7-million, and
recently established the Canadian Cancer Society Chair in the Primary
Prevention of Cancer at UBC. For more information, visit, or
call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

    These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid telephone poll conducted on
behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society between February 5 and 17, 2008. The
poll is based on a randomly selected sample of 3,200 adult (18+) British
Columbians. Of this, 600 interviews were conducted with a representative
BC-wide sample. The remaining 2,600 interviews were distributed evenly across
13 oversample communities. With a sample of this size, the results on the
BC-wide survey (n=600) are accurate within +/- 4.0 percentage points 19 times
out of 20. Results for each oversample (n=200) are accurate to within +/- 6.9
percentage points 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Kristine Carrick, Manager, Media
Relations, Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division, T: (604)
675-7340, C: (604) 831-2598, E:

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