Inside This Issue - News
Women’s health initiative backed by CVS
June 2nd, 2014
NEW YORK – As it gears up efforts to help people quit smoking, CVS Caremark Corp. is sponsoring Lung Force, an American Lung Association women’s health initiative.
Lung Force aims to make lung cancer in women a public health priority. The effort includes the Women’s Lung Health Barometer, a poll of more than 1,000 women that measures knowledge and perceptions about lung cancer. Of respondents, just 1% cited lung cancer as a cancer that is top-of-mind, although the disease is the top cancer killer of women, the American Lung Association noted.
As the national presenting sponsor, CVS is supporting Lung Force via an in-store promotion during June in which customers can make donations at checkout.
CVS/pharmacy president Helena Foulkes helped launch Lung Force last month at an event in New York City featuring actress and author Valerie Harper — who has been battling lung cancer since 2009 and has become a key spokesperson for the disease — and country singer Kellie Pickler, whose grandmother died from lung cancer.
In February, CVS said it will end sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products at its 7,600-plus drug stores by October 1. The move makes CVS the first national drug chain to do so.
“The other thing we alluded to in February was that we would be launching a very large smoking cessation program. We are currently working on the details of that,” Foulkes said in an interview at the Lung Force event. “For us it’s a natural extension, from getting out of the [tobacco] business and taking it one step further and finding those seven out of 10 smokers who we know want to quit. One of the things we found during our announcement was that smokers were celebrating our decision as well, because so many want to quit. So what we said to ourselves was, ‘How do we leverage our 26,000 pharmacists and 5,000 nurse practitioners to really make a difference?’ ”
To that end, CVS has a group of clinicians engaged in research to examine the elements of the best smoking cessation programs and determine “how to bring them to life in a CVS store,” Foulkes said.
CVS currently offers a smoking cessation program via its over 800 MinuteClinics, and its drug stores sell smoking cessation products. According to Foulkes, the new effort would likely involve a mix of clinical services, smoking cessation products and other tools.
“The most important element is having our pharmacists and nurse practitioners engage with patients and help them assess whether they’re ready to quit and help them understand their options for quitting, because we know that it’s so hard to do.”