Last week I noticed that my local CVS had cleared its shelves of tobacco. The so-called tobacco “power wall” perfected over decades by Big Tobacco marketing experts is gone. That’s because CVS Caremark is the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco, pledging to do so by October. Despite reports of the chain losing out on $2 billion annually, it has stayed the course.
This year, the U.S. Surgeon General issued its 50th anniversary report on smoking. It reminds us that over 20 million Americans have died from smoking since the first report in 1964 and hundreds of thousands of lives are prematurely lost annually from smoking. The report concludes, “The tobacco epidemic was initiated and has been sustained by the aggressive strategies of the tobacco industry, which has deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes.”
Let’s hope other major companies follow suit to end the catastrophic impact cigarettes and tobacco products have on our society.