A Survey of Pharmacists' Opinions and Practices Related to the Sale of Cigarettes in Pharmacies—Revisited
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The objective of the study was to follow-up on important findings from a 1996 statewide survey of Indiana pharmacists regarding their opinions and practices related to the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies. More specifically, this study was designed to (1) collect 2001 state-wide data concerning the percentage of Indiana pharmacies selling cigarettes and to learn what pharmacists think about the sale of cigarettes in their stores; (2) compare these findings with results from a 1996 study; and collect new information on (3) whether a cigarette selling policy in pharmacies in which pharmacists are employed differs from their professional and personal values; (4) pharmacists' opinions related to state-wide initiatives on tobacco control in Indiana; and (5) the level of involvement with smoking cessation activities by community pharmacists.
A 1996 survey instrument of Indiana pharmacists opinions and practices related to the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies served as the basis for questionnaire design. In addition, 11 new items were added to assess the three new objectives of the study. This questionnaire was administered to half of the 1280 pharmacies in Indiana. Collected data were analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistical methods.
Findings reveal that independent pharmacies had significantly reduced their sale of cigarettes from 1996 while there was no significant change among retail chain pharmacies. Additionally, significantly more pharmacists in 2001 believed that pharmacies should not sell cigarettes compared to five years ago. Also, more than three-fourths of pharmacists who worked in pharmacies that sold cigarettes felt it differed from their professional values.
When it came to pharmacists involvement in tobacco control activities, results were mixed. This study found that the majority of pharmacists do not ask their patients about their smoking habits. In addition, an overwhelming majority of Indiana pharmacists were unfamiliar with a number of state public health programs/resources on smoking prevention and cessation. Nevertheless, it was very encouraging that nearly three-fourths of the pharmacies offer counseling programs for smokers who want to quit and more than one-half believed that increasing the state excise tax on cigarettes would be effective on tobacco control in Indiana.
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