Local pharmacies recognized for putting health first

Local teens and health advocates have seen enough marketing from the tobacco industry. That’s the message they’ll be emphasizing for World No Tobacco Day, along with partners around New York State and the world.

Representatives from the local Bureau of Tobacco Control programs will be visiting pharmacies in Chautau-qua and Cattaraugus coun-ties that do not sell tobacco products thanking them for helping keep their customers healthy.

“It just makes sense,” said Katelyn Main, Olean High School student. “A doctor wouldn’t ever prescribe cigarettes, so why would a pharmacy still carry them?”

The U.S. Surgeon General has reinforced that pharmacies send contradictory messages when they sell both medicines that help people heal and tobacco products that kill when used as intended. Twenty-two pharmacies in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties have chosen not to give Big Tobacco access to their customers.

“We’re glad to recognize the positive influences in our communities,” said Sam Vanstrom, Senior Program Coordinator for Chautau-qua, Cattaraugus and Alle-gany Counties Reality Check. “We’ve seen enough tobacco marketing in other places. So it’s nice that when people come to the pharmacy to get well, they don’t have to worry about Big Tobacco’s presence at the check-out counter. Experience in other places and scientific studies have shown that with less marketing, kids are less likely to start smoking and smokers are more likely to stay quit.”

Over half of all pharmacies in New York still sell tobacco products. However, only 15 percent of independent pharmacies are included in that number while 99 percent of large, chain drug stores sell tobacco products.

“We’re a small business, and it’s a tough economy. But we’d rather look out for our customers’ health than try to make a few extra bucks by letting the tobacco companies into our stores.” Said Sahir Sarvaiya, owner of Sherman Pharmacy and Southside Pharmacy in Jamestown.

The 22 pharmacies receiving awards from Reality Check, Tri-County Tobacco Free Programs, Southern Tier Health Care System’s Cessation Center, and CARES for not selling tobacco are:

Patient’s Pharmacy and Southside Pharmacy of Jamestown; Lakewood Apothecary, Kmart and Wegman’s of Jamestown; Frewsburg Pharmacy; Johnson’s Village Pharmacy of Mayville; Sherman Pharmacy; Westfield Apothe-cary; Concord Pharmacy of Fredonia; Inkley Pharmacy of Randolph; Ellicottville Phar-macy; Corner Drug Store of Cattaraugus; Bartholomew’s Pharmacy of Franklinville; Gowanda Pharmacy and Valley Pharmacy and Medical Supplies of Gowanda; Park Pharmacy of Salamanca; and Prizel’s Pharmacy, Dan Horn Pharmacy, Kmart and Vic Vena of Olean.

World No Tobacco Day is sponsored by the World Health Organization. This year’s worldwide theme is “ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship,” which is required under the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control. However, the United States has not ratified the treaty, and therefore is not required to take these actions.

According to the World Health Organization, to help reduce tobacco use, comprehensive advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans work to counteract:

the deceptive and misleading nature of tobacco marketing campaigns;

the unavoidable exposure of youth to tobacco marketing;

the failure of the tobacco industry to self-regulate; and

the ineffectiveness of partial bans.

World No Tobacco Day is sponsored by the World Health Organization and recognized around the world to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. Laurie Adams, Tri-County Tobacco Free Program Director states, “We highlight World No Tobacco Day locally by honoring pharmacies who choose not to sell tobacco. With their support we can to reduce the burden of tobacco in our communities.”

For additional information about the harmful effects of tobacco marketing and local efforts to protect our kids, visit

For more information about quitting smoking, please call the Tobacco Cessation Center at 372-0614. You can also call the toll-free NYS Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-697-8487 or visit the Smokers’ Quitsite at

Reality Check is a youth action program that works to expose the deceptive marketing tactics tobacco companies use to get young people to start smoking. As part of the NYS Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Control, it provides education and youth empowerment to communities across the state.

You can find more info at,, on Facebook by searching Chautauqua RealityCheck or at 665-9288.

Tri-County Tobacco Free Programs leads a coalition of businesses, agencies and individuals working together to reduce tobacco use in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Also part of the Bureau of Tobacco Control, it focuses on reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and reducing tobacco marketing across the state. You can get more information at or at 665-2310.