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    CVS to stop selling tobacco products in October

    The first major pharmacy chain in the United States to ban nicotine


    Health effects of smoking

    Approximately 16 million people have at least one disease that is associated with smoking, and 9 of 10 lung cancers are caused by tobacco products. More than 480,000 deaths in the United States are attributed to tobacco products, Brennan explained, making it the leading cause of premature death in the nation.

    Even though the prevalence of cigarette smoking has declined over the last five decades, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the last 10 years, Brennan said.

    “The paradox of cigarette sales in pharmacies has become even more relevant recently, in large part because of changes in the pharmacy industry…. Most pharmacy chains are retooling themselves as a integral part of the healthcare system,” according to Brennan and his co-author Steven A. Schroeder, director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, University of California, San Francisco, who wrote an editorial in JAMA published on February 5.

    “Pharmacies are moving into the treatment arena, with the advent of retail health clinics. These retail clinics, originally designed to address common acute infections, are gearing up to work with primary care clinicians to assist in treating … all conditions exacerbated by smoking,” they wrote.

    CVS Caremark plans to launch a national smoking cessation program this spring with information and treatment on smoking cessation delivered at its pharmacies and MinuteClinics. It also plans to provide online resources and additional programs for its PBM plan members to help them quit smoking. “About seven in ten smokers say they want to quit and about half attempt to quit each year,” CVS reported in a news release.

    The company also reported that it actively encourages its employees to quit smoking. It has provided tools for smoking cessation, which makes this a “realistic choice for them,” Merlo said.

    Julia Talsma, Content Channel Director
    Julia Talsma is lead editor for Drug Topics magazine.


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    • Anonymous
      One wonders if this isn't atonement for the company's very recent citations for billing fraud and failure to counsel patients. Praise for this action should probably be reserved when it's demonstrated that this company is truly capable of cleaning up its act. It was hilarious to read the kudos they got from the White House knowing that just last year they were settling cases involving the defrauding of Federal programs. Maybe I'd feel better if they stopped selling liquor and candy too.
    • BobKatz
      Kudos to CVS. Hope the other chains follow the example of CVS. I often wondered how you could promote good health by selling unhealthy products
    • BarryBrewer
      This is all fine and good, but Shopko stores stopped selling tobacco procducts 7 or 8 years ago. They are only regional however, North Central US, so no press coverage.