Commentary: CVS pulling tobacco products is a public health game-changer

Published: Monday, February 17, 2014 at 12:29 PM.

For the past 30 years, I've fought for lung health with the American Lung Association. Our organization has been a leader in the battle against tobacco, which is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. Over the years, this battle has experienced dramatic highs and disappointing lows.  CVS Caremark’s recent announcement that they will no longer sell tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy locations represents a great milestone in efforts to move toward becoming a healthier, smokefree nation. 

CVS Caremark took a bold step in making the health and well-being of current and future customers and employees a top priority. We at the American Lung Association commend the company’s leaders for their decision and urge more retailers to follow CVS Caremark’s brave lead, and help eliminate tobacco-caused deaths and disease by pulling tobacco products from their own shelves

Reducing access to tobacco is an important first step, but we also need to support those who are actively trying to quit. There are approximately 43 million American smokers.  Of those, 70 percent - or 30 million individuals - want to quit.

Comprehensive quit-smoking programs like the Lung Association's Quitter in You program (www.quitterinyou.org), coupled with a decision like CVS's, can help us move toward a generation that will not be defined by smoking-related illnesses like lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

You can help! Sign our online pledge (http://bit.ly/1moYG20), and help the American Lung Association end the tobacco epidemic by:

  • preventing kids from starting to smoke,
  • helping smokers quit and
  • protecting everyone from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

You can also do your part by patronizing retailers like CVS who put public health first.



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