Background In October, 2008, legislation was implemented in the city and county of San Francisco, California, prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
Objective To characterise public awareness and perceptions of the ban on tobacco sales in San Francisco community pharmacies.
Methods A brief, anonymous survey was used to assess public awareness and perceptions of a ban on tobacco sales approximately 1 year after implementation. Individuals were approached by researchers outside of chain pharmacies in San Francisco. Smokers and non-smokers were included, and participants did not have to be patrons of the pharmacy.
Results Of 198 participants, 56% were in favor of the ban, 27% opposed it and 17% were undecided. A greater proportion of current tobacco users (81%) than former/never users (48%) were aware of the ban (p<0.001), and a lesser proportion were supportive of the ban (21% of current users vs 66% of former/never users; p<0.001). Most current tobacco users (88% of n=43) had not considered quitting smoking as a result of the ban. The majority of consumers indicated that the ban on cigarette sales did not influence their shopping behaviour at retail pharmacies.
Conclusions In the city and county of San Francisco, public support exists for prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
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