Thursday, February 14, 2013

Why is UCSF Partnering with a Company that Sells Cigarettes, Rather than Demanding that They Stop Selling Cigarettes?

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the UCSF School of Pharmacy is partnering with Safeway to offer smoking cessation advice to Safeway customers.

The press release states: "The UCSF School of Pharmacy has partnered with Safeway Inc. to help Safeway customers quit smoking, by connecting them with specially trained pharmacists to learn about smoking-cessation programs and other resources. Under the partnership, Safeway's pharmacists will be trained in proven smoking-cessation counseling techniques using a program developed by the UCSF pharmacy faculty. The stores also will locate non-prescription, nicotine-replacement therapies near store pharmacy areas, giving customers convenient access to a pharmacist to answer questions."

The press release quotes Safeway's senior vice president as boasting: "We are proud to partner with the UCSF School of Pharmacy on this effort to help our customers quit smoking and live healthier lives. Our pharmacists are, at all times, ready to help customers reach their health and wellness goals."

The Rest of the Story

What a load of hypocrisy?

If Safeway were truly interested in reducing tobacco-related morbidity and mortality and improving the health of its customers, it would take one simple action:

Stop selling cigarettes!

It's really not all that complicated. How can the Safeway company boast about how concerned it is about people's health out of one side of its mouth, and then out of the other side of its mouth fight to retain its right to sell cigarettes and kill those very same customers? Remember that Safeway sued the city of San Francisco because it didn't want the city to interfere with its profits from the sale of cigarettes, much of which comes from the sale of cigarettes to kids. Don't forget that studies showed that Safeway had the highest rate of cigarettes sales to minors of any supermarket chain and was sued by the state of California because of those illegal sales.

So this is the corporation that the UCSF School of Pharmacy chooses to partner with and lend its good name as a means of the corporation gaining positive publicity about its concern for its customers health?

Hooey. It's a load of crap. Safeway doesn't care about its customers' health. It cares about its cigarette-related profits. If Safeway were truly concerned about its customers' health, it would simply stop selling these deadly products.

If the UCSF School of Pharmacy really wanted to do something to reduce cigarette use, then instead of partnering with a huge culprit in the problem, it would use its influence to demand that the company stop selling these cancer sticks.

The rest of the story is that the UCSF School of Pharmacy is acting as an accomplice in the perpetuation of cigarette-related disease. The School is providing Safeway with an opportunity to deceive the public into making them think the corporation cares about health, when obviously its actions show that its primary concern is profit from cigarettes. It went so far as suing the city of San Francisco to preserve its ability to sell its cancer sticks to its customers. That's how much it cares about health.

Let's face it. Safeway is out to make a profit. It is not in the business of health. It's in the business of making money. And it has demonstrated that its perfectly happy to make its money off the sale of potenti and deadly carcinogens.

Why UCSF would aid Safeway in this mission is beyond me.

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