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NEW: Tobacco Free RI Applauds CVS for Decision to Quit Tobacco

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

 

Tobacco Free Rhode Island, a statewide network of over 55 organizations working to reduce tobacco use, is heralding today’s announcement by national drug store giant CVS that they will no longer sell tobacco products as a major milestone on the road to significantly reducing the U.S. smoking rate.

CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.

"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," said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

Forbes reported today that the decision by the "public-health-mindedness will cost CVS billions – literally. The company sales $2 billion in sales will be shaved off its $125 billion top line."

Tobacco Free Rhode Island Lauds Move

“Tobacco Free Rhode Island applauds CVS for its decision to quit tobacco,” said Karina Holyoak Wood, director, Tobacco Free Rhode Island. “We are especially proud that a Rhode Island-based company is the first national drug store chain to go tobacco-free, setting a new standard for health.

“This decision makes good sense, because pharmacies are where people go for medicine and health care advice. It is illogical and counter-productive to health that pharmacies also sell cigarettes — items that, when used exactly as directed, kill more than 400,000 Americans every year,” continued Wood.

“The sale of both tobacco products and the medicines used to treat tobacco-related illnesses like asthma, emphysema, heart disease and cancer, in pharmacies has long presented a troubling conflict of interest. And the wall displays of cigarettes behind the counter right next to displays of smoking cessation medicines and therapies like the nicotine patch and Chantix, send mixed messages to customers, especially impressionable youth, and make it harder for smokers to quit.

“By going tobacco-free, CVS is leading the way for drug stores and pharmacies nationwide to fully embrace their role as centers of health and wellness. Today is a great day for CVS and a great day for public health,” said Wood.


Related Slideshow:
New England’s Healthiest States 2013

The United Health Foundation recently released its 2013 annual reoprt: America's Health Rankings, which provides a comparative state by state analysis of several health measures to provide a comprehensive perspective of our nation's health issues. See how the New England states rank in the slides below.

 

Definitions

All Outcomes Rank: Outcomes represent what has already occurred, either through death, disease or missed days due to illness. In America's Health Rankings, outcomes include prevalence of diabetes, number of poor mental or physical health days in last 30 days, health disparity, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular death rate, cancer death rate and premature death. Outcomes account for 25% of the final ranking.

Determinants Rank: Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. 

Diabetes Rank: Based on percent of adults who responded yes to the question "Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have diabetes?" Does not include pre-diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.

Smoking Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are current smokers (self-report smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke).

Obesity Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

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6. Rhode Island

Overall Rank: 19

Outcomes Rank: 30

Determinants Rank: 13

Diabetes Rank: 26

Smoking Rank: 14

Obesity Rank: 13

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. High immunization coverage among adolescents

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians  

Challenges:

1.High rate of drug deaths

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in heath status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/RI

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5. Maine

Overall Rank: 16

Outcomes Rank: 25

Determinants Rank: 12

Diabetes Rank: 23

Smoking Rank: 29

Obesity Rank: 28

 

Strengths:

1. Low violent crime rate

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Low prevalence of low birthweight  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High rate of cancer deaths

3. Limited availability of dentists

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ME

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4. Connecticut

Overall Rank: 7

Outcomes Rank: 15

Determinants Rank: 4

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 4

Obesity Rank: 12

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of smoking

2. Low incidence of infectious diseases

3. High immunization coverage among children & adolescents  

Challenges:

1. Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low high school graduation rate

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/CT

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3. New Hampshire

Overall Rank: 5

Outcomes Rank: 7

Determinants Rank: 5

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 11

Obesity Rank: 22

 

Strengths:

1. Low percentage of children in poverty

2. High immunization coverage among children

3. Low infant mortality rate  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High incidence of pertussis infections

3. Low per capita public health funding

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/NH

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2. Massachusetts

Overall Rank: 4

Outcomes Rank: 14

Determinants Rank: 3

Diabetes Rank: 10

Smoking Rank: 7

Obesity Rank: 2

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians & dentists  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MA

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1. Vermont

Overall Rank: 2

Outcomes Rank: 12

Determinants Rank: 1

Diabetes Rank: 4

Smoking Rank: 9

Obesity Rank: 5

 

Strengths:

1. High rate of high school graduation

2. Low violent crime rate

3. Low percentage of uninsured population  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low immunization coverage among children

3. High incidence of pertussis infections

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/VT

 
 

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Comments:

Nancy Thomas

Interesting to go back to all the positive commentators now and ask them if they would support Minute Clinics opening in RI - it's time has come...

C B11

Although I have no problem with a private company selling or refusing to sell any item, I find this a little disingenuous. They are going to stop selling tobacco products because of the health risks but will still load the shelves with candy, cookies, frozen and boxed junk food while the obesity rate and cases of diabetes continue to rise in this country. I really don't care, just saying it seems to be a little hypocritical to me. There has to be another reason behind this besides the health risk, it just isn't passing the smell test with me.




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