By February 6, 2014 Read More →

CVS putting public health safety first

An editorial from the  Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.VA. — One in five.

That’s how many deaths are attributed to cigarette smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in the United States each year, making tobacco use the single most preventable cause of death in the country.

Smoking also has a significant impact on the economy, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying smoking-caused diseases result in $96 billion in health care costs each year.

The CDC reports that in West Virginia, the percentage of adults who smoked cigarettes was 28.6 percent in 2011; the percentage of youth in grades 9-12 was 19.1 percent. Among all adults, the percentage who reported being exposed to secondhand smoke was higher in West Virginia than in the nation overall.

The CDC and other agencies have long warned of the dangers that come along with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

And now, at least one company is taking a stand.

On Wednesday, CVS Caremark, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, said it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

The move will cost CVS about $2 billion in annual revenue, and it was met with a positive response from everyone from public health officials all the way to the White House…

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