Doctor fights pharmacies over cigarette sales
BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP- In many local pharmacies, customers can purchase everything from cold medicine to candy bars. They can also buy cigarettes, a practice Dr. Vernon Daly wants stopped.
He says tobacco kills 14,000 New Jersey residents annually and has no place in a health setting.
"If pharmacies today say they won't sell tobacco because of health reasons, a lot more people would stop smoking," said Daly yesterday at a Celebration of Tobacco-Free Pharmacies Friday in front of Rancocas Hospital on Sunset Road.
Daly is the president of the Heureka Center for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Burlington Township.
The seminar was organized to recognize pharmacies that don't carry tobacco products and to encourage residents to pressure the pharmacies that do.
"The time has come when we tell the pharmacies that they can no longer fill the prescription for tobacco addiction," said Daly to an audience of about 20.
The program was part of a joint effort by the Heureka Center and NJBreathes, a coalition of organizations in the state that works to curb the effects of smoking in the state.
As part of the event, Daly handed out copies of the second edition of the New Jersey Tobacco Free Pharmacy Directory. The directory lists 16 independent pharmacies in Burlington County that do not sell tobacco products.
Statewide, about 141 pharmacies are tobacco free, Daly said.
Larry Downs, director of NJBreathes, encouraged residents to protest at the grassroots level at their local pharmacies. "Why should you be able to get your chemotherapy medicines in the same place you can get a cancer-causing agent?" he asked.
At the close of the program, Daly encouraged representatives from tobacco-free pharmacies in the state to display "Tobacco Free Network" signs in their store windows.
He also asked them to display in their shops anti-smoking posters.