CVS is telling consumers to keep walking if they’re looking to get a nicotine fix with a new pack of cigarettes or a can of dip. CVS announced in February that they would stop selling all tobacco products by October 1, 2014 as part of a larger initiative to focus on health and well-being. Yesterday, CVS unveiled their full initiative and announced that their tobacco products sale ban was effective that day, September 3—almost a month ahead of schedule.
As highlighted in the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, over 20 million American deaths have been attributed to smoking since the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report (which first reported the impact of smoking on health). Smoking has no less an impact on health in 2014—if our current smoking rate persists, 5.6 million of young adults today 18 and under are estimated to die prematurely due to smoking-related illness. CVS recognized this continued threat to Americans’ health and created its company anti-tobacco initiative with the aim to reduce tobacco-related deaths. In addition to the tobacco product sales ban, CVS is providing cessation resources online and in stores and also spearheading “Let’s Quit Together” cessation program and the #OneGoodReason social media campaign where people can share their reason to live tobacco free on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
CVS Caremark Corp.—which is now CVS Health stands firm behind their decision to cut out tobacco product sales, which comes at no small cost—they stand to lose $2 billion in annual revenue by enacting this ban (which may be why no competitors, such as Walgreens or Rite Aid are following suit). However, CVS strongly believes that selling tobacco products is in direct conflict with their goal to commit to consumer health and drive innovation for the future of health care.
Kudos to CVS Health for making the commitment to be tobacco free!