Objective: To provide national-level data concerning the percentage of pharmacies selling tobacco products, examine relationships between selling practices and pharmacy characteristic variables, and explore perceptions of conflicts between tobacco-selling activity and professional and personal values and the potential effects of such conflicts.
Design, setting, participants: Data were collected from a geographically stratified systematic random sample of 899 pharmacies. Multiple mailings were sent to the attention of the pharmacy manager. A random sample of nonrespondents was also contacted by telephone, urging participation.
Main outcome measures: Whether the pharmacy currently sold cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products, and if so, whether these practices differed from what respondents' personal or professional values tell them to do. Scales designed to measure job satisfaction, job-induced tension, and propensity to leave were also included.
Results: Slightly more than half (50.5%) of the pharmacies sold cigarettes and 35.4% sold smokeless tobacco products. Independents were less likely than chain pharmacies to sell tobacco products. For those respondents working in pharmacies where tobacco products were sold, 47.6% responded that this practice differs from what their personal values tell them to do and 63.9% replied that this practice differs from what their professional values tell them to do. Even when controlling for pharmacy type, respondents working in pharmacies that sold tobacco products had significantly lower levels of global job satisfaction, higher levels of job-induced tension, and a higher propensity to leave than did respondents working in pharmacies that did not.
Conclusion: Decision makers in pharmacies where tobacco products are still sold should take a serious look at the justification for the continued availability of tobacco products in an environment that has a goal of promoting health.