CVS's Bold Action to Cease Tobacco Sales Should Send Clarion Call to All Pharmacy Chains to Follow Suit
WASHINGTON, Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the landmark US Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health, CVS Caremark has stepped forward in a highly competitive industry to do the right thing and stop selling the most lethal consumer product on the market today – tobacco. This bold move sets them apart from their peers and we applaud them for it.
While some pharmacies in stores like Target have made similar moves, the CVS Caremark decision sets itself apart by clearly doing so because tobacco sales run counter to their mission to help people "on their path to better health." With 480,000 Americans losing their lives annually to tobacco, this new business decision is a watershed moment in the pharmacy business, and one public health leaders like Legacy hope will quickly be emulated by all businesses that have pharmacies on site, including national grocery store chains who purport to encourage health and wellness but ironically continue to sell products resulting in the number one preventable cause of death.
"There is a critical role for retailers in prevention," said Robin Koval, president and CEO of Legacy®. "Currently, retail is not only the distribution point for tobacco but also a key advertising point of contact with young people. Removing tobacco from these stores also means getting the advertising out as well, so we could not be more pleased on both of those fronts. We are also thrilled to see a major retailer like CVS Caremark take a leadership role in the fight to help smokers quit. Legacy looks forward to working closely with them to help the 42 million Americans who still smoke to finally quit for good," she said.
"Just as people look back and marvel that the use of these deadly products used to be socially acceptable on airplanes, in workplaces and in public areas like parks and beaches, we now hope to see a domino effect where businesses whose hallmark is devoted to improving public health will see that selling tobacco products no longer fits their business model because, when used as intended, they kill up to one half of their customers," Koval added.
Legacy helps people live longer, healthier lives by building a world where young people reject tobacco and anyone can quit. Legacy's proven-effective and nationally recognized public education programs include truth®, the national youth smoking prevention campaign that has been cited as contributing to significant declines in youth smoking; EX®, an innovative public health program designed to speak to smokers in their own language and change the way they approach quitting; and research initiatives exploring the causes, consequences and approaches to reducing tobacco use. Located in Washington, D.C., the foundation was created as a result of the November 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry. To learn more about Legacy's life-saving programs, visit www.LegacyForHealth.org.
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