Selling Health & Cigarettes?

  The American Medical Association doesn’t believe medical services should be served up next to an array of tobacco products in retail outlets, and it appears that the American Osteopathic Association agrees.

Meeting this week in Chicago, representatives of the nation’s more than 67,000 osteopathic physicians will consider a policy that calls on legislators to ban or discourage placement of medical practices in retail settings that promote or sell tobacco products.

 The placement of medical clinics in these settings convey a message contrary to the efforts of health care providers, said Dr. Joseph Yasso, D.O., chair of the AOA’s bureau of state government affairs.

 “These types of clinics are proliferating rather rapidly and since that is the case, we certainly don’t want these popping up in areas where a patient comes in to see a nurse practitioner and is diagnosed with acute bronchitis or a respiratory infection and is advised not to smoke and they walk out the door past a counter that sells cigarettes,” he said.

 That ship has likely sailed, with Walgreens Take Care clinics alone treating more than 300,000 cases of acute respiratory conditions from 2008 to 2009, according to a press release announcing that patients with respiratory illnesses, ages 2 years and up, can seek nebulizer treatments year round at these clinics.

 The Convenient Care Association has developed quality and safety standards for its roughly 1,200 retail health care clinic members that include providing patients with health promotion and disease prevention education, but they do not tackle the issue of tobacco sales.

While store-based health clinics provide a service to patients,  should there be conditions on where they’re placed or the products sold in the next aisle? If so, where does one draw the line? What do you think?

— Patrice Wendling (on Twitter @pwendl)
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1 Comment

Filed under Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Polls, Practice Trends, Primary care

One response to “Selling Health & Cigarettes?

  1. M.Lopez

    I have had chronic asthma my entire 27 years of life. Throughout my life asthma attacks landed me in the Emergency Room, via car or ambulance. In several instances, I had to pass smoking nurses and doctors as I entered the double doors of the hospital. Second hand smoke burned my throat as was I gasping to breathe. There needs to be a separation of medical practice and smoking, for the sake of both medical practitioners and patients. So, where does one draw the line? If a person is unwillingly inhaling second hand smoke anywhere, the smoker is not secluded enough.

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