WHAT OTHERS SAY: CVS takes bold stance and drops tobacco products

Thursday, September 4, 2014 | 11:47 a.m. CDT

Kicking the tobacco habit just got easier, especially if you shop at CVS drug stores.

The retail chain said earlier this year that it would remove tobacco products from its 7,700 stores by Oct. 1. They beat their own deadline by almost a month by ending sales of tobacco products on Wednesday.

When CVS announced its plans, company leaders said the sales of tobacco, and its harmful and widespread effects on people, contradicted the company's broader mission in delivering health care — the pharmacies also have about 900 walk-in clinics. Appropriately there will also be a name change for the company with the new emphasis: CVS Health.

In addition to dropping tobacco, CVS also offers smoking cessation programs to its customers. USA Today reports the programs include "an assessment of the smoker's 'readiness to quit,' education, medication support to help curb the desire to use tobacco and coaching to help people stay motivated and avoid relapses."

The move is a fascinating curve in a business arc, and it also demonstrates responsible corporate citizenship that other companies should emulate.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted, cigarette smoking harms almost every organ in the body. It causes almost 500,000 deaths in the nation each year — and it's responsible for 10 times as many premature deaths than all the deaths in all the wars in U.S. history.

It causes 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths (more than 159,000) each year; there are about 224,210 new cases of lung cancer every year.

Way to go, CVS.

Copyright Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal. Distributed by the Associated Press.

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