Delivering on a Promise: CVS Steps Up in the Fight Against Tobacco
A message from Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association
(September 3, 2014)
Earlier this year, CVS took a bold step – announcing that they would remove all tobacco products from their CVS/pharmacy stores across the country by October 1st, a significant business decision with the health of all Americans at its core. Today, September 3, is a proud moment for those of us in the fight against tobacco, as CVS announced their accelerated timeline to achieve this milestone, almost an entire month earlier than expected.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and illness in the U.S. Every year, almost half a million people die from tobacco-caused disease. Reducing access to tobacco is an important first step. Every person and every company can play a role in helping to end tobacco-caused death and disease. For starters, I ask each of you to engage in the social discussion by urging other retailers, especially those with pharmacies, to take the same bold move to remove tobacco products from their stores.
With our health and medical partners, the American Lung Association has called for urgent action by all levels of government to achieve three bold goals:
- Reduce smoking rates, currently at about 18 percent, to less than 10 percent within 10 years;
- Protect all Americans from secondhand smoke within five years; and
- Ultimately eliminate the death and disease caused by tobacco use.
There is much more work to be done to end the terrible tobacco epidemic. We recently issued a statement urging the Obama administration to step up to protect the health of all Americans by finalizing the Food and Drug Administration regulation that would give the agency oversight authority over all tobacco products including cigars, electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco, hookah and other tobacco products by the end of 2014.
We all have an important stake in reducing tobacco’s terrible toll. Let’s all commend CVS for the bold move that they took today.