Objective: To estimate changes since 1976 in the proportion of San Francisco pharmacies that sell cigarettes and to characterise the advertising of cigarettes and the merchandising of non-prescription nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products in these retail establishments.
Methods and setting: 100 randomly selected San Francisco pharmacies were visited in 2003. Pharmacies were characterised based on the sale of cigarettes, advertising for cigarettes, and the merchandising of non-prescription NRT products.
Results: In 2003, 61% of pharmacies sold cigarettes, a significant decrease compared to 89% of pharmacies selling cigarettes in 1976 (p < 0.001); 84% of pharmacies selling cigarettes also displayed cigarette advertising. Non-prescription NRT products were stocked by 78% of pharmacies, and in 55% of pharmacies selling cigarettes, the NRT products were stocked immediately adjacent to the cigarettes.
Conclusions: Since 1976, there has been a decline in the overall proportion of pharmacies in San Francisco that sell cigarettes yet most pharmacies, particularly traditional chain pharmacies, continue to merchandise the primary known risk factor for death in the USA.
- nicotine replacement therapy
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