WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health applauded a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to propose a policy that would ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. The company, which ended all tobacco sales at CVS Pharmacy locations in 2014, supports the move not only in the interest of public health, but also in addressing health disparities among Black communities:
“For nearly 75 years, the tobacco industry has targeted menthol cigarette marketing at the Black community, and the public health consequences of those actions have been devastating. According to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, menthol cigarettes are more addictive and harder to quit, widening health disparities within Black communities that must be addressed. Today, tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death among Black Americans with more than 85 percent of Black Americans who smoke reporting they use menthol products. Menthol cigarettes continue to be heavily advertised, widely available and priced cheaper in Black communities.”
CVS Health has continued to address the health disparities tobacco causes through a $50 million investment in the company’s Be The First initiative, which has reached more than 15 million young people in an effort to help create the first tobacco-free generation. There has been a 36% decline in new youth smokers since the program was launched.