Other Retailers Should Follow CVS Health’s Bold Example by Ending Sales of Tobacco Products

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Sep. 3 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – CVS Health’s announcement today that it has ended tobacco sales sends a resounding message to the entire retail industry: Responsible retailers – especially those that provide health care through pharmacies and clinics – should not be in the business of selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. There is a fundamental conflict between promoting health and selling tobacco products, which are the number one cause of preventable death.  Retailers cannot have it both ways.

Today, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids calls on all retailers, especially those involved in health care, to follow the powerful example set by CVS Health and end tobacco sales.  If they are truly committed to improving health, retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid must stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.

We also urge consumers to support retailers such as CVS that have demonstrated their commitment to health by choosing not to sell tobacco products. By ending tobacco sales, CVS Health has shown that it truly cares about the health of its customers and the communities where it does business.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds CVS Health for its courageous leadership in ending tobacco sales at its 7,700 retail pharmacies.  This decision will reduce the availability of tobacco products and sends an unmistakable message to all Americans, especially children, that tobacco use is uniquely harmful and socially unacceptable.  We also applaud CVS Health for launching a new smoking cessation campaign to help Americans quit smoking.

CVS Health’s decision represents the bold action needed from all segments of our society to accelerate progress against tobacco and make the next generation tobacco-free.  It comes appropriately as the nation this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health.

The latest Surgeon General’s report, released in January, reported that smoking kills 480,000 Americans annually, sickens millions more and costs the nation more than $289 billion in health care expenses and economic costs every year.  The Surgeon General also underscored that tobacco use is first and foremost a pediatric epidemic – 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18, and 5.6 million kids alive today will die prematurely from smoking-caused disease unless current trends are reversed.  Responsible retailers should not be selling products that cause so much harm to our nation’s children and health.

 

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