About 6,000 British Columbians die of smoking-related illnesses each year.
If that number doesn't seem significant enough, it's about one of every 100 smokers in B.C., and represents the fatal annual fallout from the about onein-eight British Columbians who smoke.
Think about those numbers for a moment: one in 100. Who wouldn't buy a lottery ticket with those odds!
Except the odds are in reverse: one in 100 is a loser. A permanent loser. Each year.
Still wanna buy a ticket? Still wanna buy that pack of cigarettes?
You can buy both - lottery tickets and cigarettes - at your local pharmacy, but a concerted campaign is afoot to change that.
The B.C. & Yukon Heart and Stroke Foundation, the BC Lung Association, and the College of Pharmacists of B.C. aren't concerned about the lottery tickets, but they think that pharmacies are inappropriate venues for tobacco sales.
And they make a strong case for their position: the sale of tobacco in pharmacies is contrary to the health professional role that pharmacists play in society.
They applaud the B.C. government's quit-smoking initiative, which offers free therapies for smoking cessation. But they note, "Many who are trying to quit must pass through drug stores where cigarettes and other tobacco products are sold to get to the dispensary at the back of the store to pick up their cessation medication."
The consequent temptation is counterproductive - and in view of the numbers above, possibly fatal.
They want legislation removing cigarettes and other tobacco products from pharmacies and stores that contain pharmacies in B.C.
B.C. is one of three Canadian jurisdictions (the others are Manitoba and the Yukon) that still allow cigarettes to be sold in pharmacies.
Let's make it two.