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Stateside: Banished to a grog shop

Stateside with Rosalea Barker

Banished to a grog shop

Back in April, I was sold a packet of cigarettes by a young woman in a white coverall whose name badge identified her as a pharmacist. It’s long been a mystery to me why “The Pharmacy America Trusts” would hawk the Evil Weed, but in the US, you soon get used to the incongruous being the norm. (To be fair, she was covering the checkout in place of a regular sales clerk.)

I know that it was in April, because that same day I chanced upon a post at publicaddress.net’s OurTube which included a video of a British television comedy skit in which a doctor prescribes his patient cigarettes. Like smoke up a nostril, that post is no longer there, but the irony lingers on.

Yesterday, at a Walgreens pharmacy in San Francisco, I was given a slip of paper when I bought my ciggies. The sales clerk even went so far as to say I HAD to read it. Let’s all read it:


Click for big version

You have to love the paragraph that reads: “The proposal will force smokers to liquor stores, tobacco shops, gas stations or other retailers that don’t carry smoking cessation products and don’t have pharmacists available for advice on quitting.”

That is pretty much the same argument Walgreens is making in the statement it released today after the proposed ordinance banning cigarette sales at pharmacies passed 8-3 when it was voted on this afternoon by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Another opponent of the ordinance, the California Distributors Association, stated that the ban "limits the rights of legitimate retailers from selling a legal product."

It will take effect at the end of September when tobacco permits for pharmacies will expire and the City will not issue any more.

Most countries in the world require dire warnings of death and disease on tobacco products, but in the US cigarette packets carry a very mild statement. “Surgeon General’s warning: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.”

Oh well, I suppose that what the pharmacies lose in tobacco sales, they can make up for in sales of Viagra.

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE—

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