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.
Keywords: Health Services; Public opinion; Public policy.