American Lung Association Statement on Anniversary of CVS Health Bold Public Health Move to End Sales of Tobacco Products
(September 3, 2015) - Chicago, IL
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Today marks the one-year anniversary of CVS Health’s removal of all tobacco products from the shelves in its nearly 8,000 CVS/pharmacy locations.
"The American Lung Association is committed to ending the tobacco epidemic in the United States,” said American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer. “We applaud all retailers that have never sold or eliminated the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products in their stores. We strongly urge all retailers, especially those with pharmacies, to do the same.”
Tobacco use kills almost half a million Americans each year, and impacts almost every system in the body, causing lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Proven measures such as higher tobacco taxes and comprehensive state tobacco prevention and cessation programs funded at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended levels must continue to be implemented to help end the tobacco epidemic.
“In addition to policy change at the federal, state and local levels, a culture shift is needed to save lives and reduce disease associated with tobacco use,” Wimmer said. “We celebrate the bold decision of CVS Health to remove tobacco. Their example fosters a culture that discourages tobacco use and addresses its health impacts. We hope it will also encourage all retailers, especially those with pharmacies, to consider ending tobacco sales.”
“CVS Health is a leader in addressing a major public health problem. By successfully positioning health as part of its core business strategy, CVS Health is contributing to a trend in which businesses are valued for being compassionate,” Wimmer said.
In fact, CVS Health was recently recognized within Fortune’s Change the World list, highlighting companies that are doing well by doing good. “CVS’ bold decision of removing tobacco is a great example of how companies can make positive public health impact,” said Wimmer.
To ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use, the American Lung Association has set a bold goal to reduce rates of smoking and tobacco use to less than 10 percent for all communities by 2024.
And in a recent, early release of survey data by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), they found that over the first three months of 2015 a further reduction in the smoking rate to 15 percent nationally was recorded. While the Lung Association will wait for final, end of year totals to make official comparisons, this is a promising decrease and indicative of a move in the right direction toward fewer smokers.
Progress is being made; however, more than a million kids still start smoking cigarettes each year. And one in four kids still use a tobacco product.
“We simply cannot let another generation of youth get hooked on tobacco products, we must move swiftly to reduce tobacco use and save lives,” Wimmer said. “To that end, the American Lung Association calls on not only community leaders, schools and residents, but also businesses to take a stand against the culture of tobacco use and empower future generations to live tobacco-free lives.”
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.