Pharmacy Gets Out of Cigarette Business
By George Anderson
Bayshore Pharmacy is all about health and, to prove it, the drugstore is walking away from the sale of 360 cartons of cigarettes a month.
Pharmacist Richard Stryler, an ex-smoker himself, said the decision to stop selling cigarettes was easy to make. “We provide health care, we provide things that make people feel better, then we sell them cigarettes,” he said. “We don’t need it anymore. We don’t want it anymore.”
New Jersey Assemblyman Steven J. Corodemus (R-Monmouth) was on hand as the pharmacy dumped its stock and handed over its license to sell cigarettes.
“It’s a real statement, ‘We’re so concerned about your health that we’re not going to contribute to its downfall,’ ” he told the Asbury Park Press. “I think, of all the professions, pharmacists have the highest respect from their customers… and that’s indicative of what they’re doing.”
Others are less sure about the wisdom of the move.
Vish Gadey, who owns Sun Ray Drugs and Medical in Middletown, NJ, said, “I wish I could stop selling tobacco. (But) I have so many customers who have a habit of coming, buying their morning newspaper and cigarettes and lottery. I’m a little concerned about cutting their routines.”
Mr. Stryker is hoping that his customers will follow Bayshore Pharmacy’s lead and give up cigarettes themselves. “I think cigarettes were 30 cents a pack when I started working here, and the same people who said they’re going to quit at 40 cents (a pack) are still saying they’re going to quit,” he said. “It’s still cheaper than a carton of cigarettes to get a week’s worth of (smoking-cessation) patches. So there’s no reason not to.”
Moderator’s Comment: Can pharmacies afford to get out of the tobacco business? What impact will not selling cigarettes have on their top and bottom lines?
George Anderson – Moderator