Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cigarettes, Nicotine Gum, & Cold Turkey

This past week, my daughter got sick. The poor thing had trouble breathing and it turns out she has some form of bronchitis. Naturally, the doctor—I like to call them legal drug dealers—prescribed some medicine for her.

I went to my local Walgreens to pick up the prescription. For those who don't know, Walgreens is a nationwide pharmacy that also sells groceries, greeting cards, and other items. Think of it like a grocery store with access to all kinds of drugs, not just the over-the-counter kinds.

I had to wait for the prescription to be ready. Sitting there waiting, I got bored and started to think. When I walked into this pharmacy—which is supposed to be centered around health and wellness—shelving full of cigarettes stood behind the clerk at the front counter.

That's odd. Why would they put that there? Why would they sell them at all? Like candy in the checkout line, they've placed them to be an impulse buy. What's worse is, they put them out of reach. If they did that with a candy bar, I would want it even more because it's made to look like something I can't have.

I settled on the fact that that's business. Sitting in the back of the store, waiting at the pharmacy area my thoughts traveled again to other things. The book I am reading, the book I am writing, and my eyes happened upon something else.

Sitting next to the pharmacy counter, at the back of the store, was this sign:

[caption id="attachment_2671" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Do you have a cold turkey addiction?[/caption]

Not only do they sell cigarettes, which are highly addictive, but they also sell the stuff to help you break your addiction. That seems like a conflict of interest to me.

Imagine I said to you that you should buy all my eBooks I've written. You naturally don't listen to me and only buy one or two. Remember, they are eBooks. They are digital.

You buy them and say, "Now what? How do I actually read them?"

I say, "Oh, you also have to buy this eReader for $199 to read them."

You say, "But don't you have them in paperback?"

I say, "Yes."

"Then why did you sell me the eBook."

"Because if you buy the eBook I make money and if you buy the eReader using this special link to the product that is tied to my associates account I will make more money."

Would you be irritated?

I'm sure you would. That's essentially what is happening here, except we're talking about nicotine addiction. The cigarettes—the problem—are located in the front of the store. The nicotine replacement—the solution that will supposedly help you stop smoking—is all the way in the back of the store, tucked in a corner.

So here's how it all plays out: You start smoking, your health deteriorates, you see a doctor, he prescribes something, says you should quit smoking, you go to the pharmacy, get your legal drug, see the nicotine gum, and buy it because you need to quit.

There's another thing I failed to mention. This one left me scratching my head as I sat there. Look at that picture again. Go ahead, scroll up if you need to. I'll wait.

Did you check it?

OK. I had no idea that cold turkey was more addictive than nicotine. Did you? Apparently it is a problem and nicotine replacement therapy is more successful than quitting cold turkey.

I don't make this stuff up folks. I just see things differently than most people.

Regardless, at the end of the day, I walked out of the store viewing Walgreens in another light. I'm sure other pharmacies are guilty of the same crime.

Oh, and my daughter? She's doing much better now. But not because of the drugs. Yeah, I forked over the cash for them, but we never used them. Hmm ... makes me wonder.