Cvs makes smart move on cigarettes

The Virginian Pilot
February 11, 2014

More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette.”

“Leading nose and throat specialists suggest ‘change to Philip Morris!’ “

“Nose, throat and accessory organs not adversely affected by smoking Chesterfields.”

Those claims and many more like them were commonplace a half century ago, with doctors, dentists and other health professionals touting the alleged benefits of one cigarette brand over another in newspaper and magazine ads and TV commercials.

It’s in that context that last week’s announcement by CVS the nation’s second largest chain of drug stores is all the more remarkable. Just as it was discordant for doctors to endorse cigarettes, it is inconsistent for pharmacies to dispense medicine and tobacco.

The company, with 7,600 stores nationwide, has decided that selling tobacco clashes with its growing mission as a health care provider with in store clinics and, of course, pharmacies. It’ll forgo about $1.5 billion in annual tobacco sales to help remake its image.

The decision 50 years after the landmark U.S. surgeon general’s report linking tobacco use and cancer has been a long time coming. But it’s part of a steady transformation of American attitudes toward smoking and a signal that more changes are ahead.

President Barack Obama, whose struggles to quit smoking are well chronicled, praised the company’s decision as “a powerful example” and expressed hope that other pharmacies will follow.

Most smokers who shop at CVS will find new places to buy cigarettes, of course. They’re not hard to find, and for now are sold at most CVS competitors.

But decisions like these help drive home the point that quitting is the intelligent choice for smokers to make.

Since 1964, an estimated 20 million Americans have died from tobacco use. This year, more than 8 million will suffer smoking related diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

About 438,000 of those will die this year. And next year. And the year after that.

The other side of the story is this Since the U.S. surgeon general’s report, the percentage of Americans who smoke has plummeted from 42 percent to roughly 18 percent.

Over that time, the CDC estimates, at least 8 million Americans have been spared premature deaths from smoking related diseases because they quit or never started.

Spared, too, were their loved ones, who must witness the pain of cancer and live with its heartbreaking consequences.

On average, those 8 million people added 20 years to their lives. Those were years to watch their children and grandchildren grow up. To enjoy a healthy life.

The effects of the CVS decision won’t be measurable for some time. But it is, as the American Cancer Society’s John Seffrin said last week, “one important piece in solving the 21st century problem of tobacco use.”

Ash ireland seeks 50c environmental levy on pack of cigarettes in pre-budget submission

ASH Ireland has submitted its Pre Budget Submission to the Minister for Finance. This submission makes five different proposals, as follows

  • A 50 cent environmental levy on each pack of 20 cigarettes sold to be imposed on the Tobacco Industry, on the polluter pays principle.
  • The removal or reduction of VAT on nicotine replacement patches.
  • An increase of 60 cents in the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes. (Also proposed by Irish Heart Foundation and Irish Cancer Society).
  • An increase of 5 million in funding the fight against the tobacco smuggling.

Dr Ross Morgan said today, We sincerely hope that the Minister for Finance, with the support of his cabinet colleagues, will look favourably at our four point Pre Budget Submission. We believe it is particularly important that there is a significant increase on the price of tobacco and we fully support a detailed submission on price increase made by the Irish Cancer Society and the Irish Heart Foundation last week. It is well established that tobacco constitutes the main component of urban waste and we are asking the Minister to place a 50 cent levy on each pack of 20 cigarettes sold to recoup the cost of dealing with this waste, which is also a significant environmental hazard. We are insisting that the highly profitable Tobacco Industry pick up the cost of this levy.

Dr Morgan went on to say There is a significant price differential between the cost of nicotine replacement therapy in Ireland when compared to other EU countries. We are asking the Minister to remove or reduce the VAT on nicotine replacement patches as one way of addressing this price differential. Nicotine replacement patches are VAT rated at 5% in the UK, whereas in Ireland it is 23%. We are also asking the Minister to increase the levels of funding for those agencies involved in the fight against tobacco smuggling. Tobacco smuggling is a serious criminal issue and must be treated as such by the agencies who are directly responsible. It is vitally important that the Tobacco Industry who have a vested interest in the smuggling issue are not directly involved as advisors, or supporters to the government on the smuggling issue.


For contact ASH Ireland 0818 305055

Wally Young, Young Communications 087 2471520