Statement by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, President and CEO, on CVS' Announcement
Princeton, N.J.—We applaud the decision by CVS Caremark to end the sale of all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores throughout the United States. We hope that this bold precedent by the largest pharmacy operator in the nation will soon be embraced by all other pharmacies, large and small.
In eliminating the sale of tobacco products, CVS recognizes that pharmacies and pharmacists are responsible for far more than filling prescriptions and selling sundries; they have become a key partner for better health in neighborhoods across the nation. Pharmacists regularly offer health and wellness counseling to customers and coordinate care with other health care providers. In addition, more than 1,600 pharmacies nationwide operate walk-in health clinics on site where families can get services ranging from flu shots to blood pressure checks. At no other U.S. health care setting are tobacco products sold in the same location where patients are diagnosed and treated—pharmacies should no longer be that exception.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, taking more than 480,000 lives annually according to the Surgeon General. To make progress toward ultimately eliminating the death and disease caused by tobacco, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supports bold goals announced by health groups recently to reduce smoking rates to less than 10 percent within 10 years and to protect all Americans from secondhand smoke within five years. CVS will help us get closer to those goals by making it more difficult for people of all ages to buy tobacco products, and by highlighting both the social unacceptability and health dangers of tobacco use.
RWJF recognizes CVS Caremark for its leadership in building a strong and lasting culture of health, the kind we all deserve.