CVS pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products
Pharmacy retailer CVS/Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1. This makes CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take the step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers, according to a press release.
“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said CVS Caremark President and CEO, Larry J. Merlo, in the release Wednesday. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
“I applaud [CVS’s] decision to stop selling tobacco products,” said Dr. Allison Benthal, an internal medicine physician with Advocate Medical Group in Libertyville, Ill. “As a physician, I encourage patients to really take that step in quitting smoking if they’ve started, and to reinforce to kids and teens not to start.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030. Further, cigarette smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually, and on average smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.
“As a leader of the health care community focused on improving health outcomes, we are pledging to help millions of Americans quit smoking,” said [CVS President] Merlo. “In addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale, we will undertake a robust national smoking cessation program.”
Further, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. A study published on the anniversary in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that efforts controlling tobacco in the last 50 years have saved 8 million lives.
The CVS move is the latest in a series of public efforts to curb cigarette smoking. In 2012 the CDC launched a comprehensive anti-smoking campaign that included “hard-hitting ads showing people living with the painful consequences of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.” The campaign was successful, according to the CDC web site. As a result of the commercials:
- An estimated 1.6 million people made a quit attempt.
- More than 100,000 smokers will remain quit.
- An estimated 6 million nonsmokers talked with friends and family about the dangers of smoking.
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