WOONSOCKET, R.I. — As the nation’s first and only national pharmacy chain to have eliminated the sale of cigarettes and other harmful tobacco products from its retail stores and having never sold e-cigarettes and vaping devices CVS Health today applauded the enforcement actions taken by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to curtail the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to the nation’s youth.
“We applaud the historic enforcement actions announced today by FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, and believe they represent the most important step the agency has taken to date to curtail youth use of e-cigarettes and flavored nicotine products,” said Dr. Troyen Brennan chief medical officer for CVS Health. “We hope the actions taken today by the FDA will reduce the number of people that are exposed to tobacco and other harmful products, which can reduce the prevalence of tobacco-related diseases including lung cancer, heart disease and stroke and make a significant impact on the health of our next generation.”
In 2014, CVS Health announced its decision to stop selling cigarettes in all CVS Pharmacy stores, making the company the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health of its patients and customers. In the eight months following the company’s exit from tobacco, smokers in states where CVS Pharmacy had a 15 percent or greater share of the retail pharmacy market purchased 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes. The company also saw a four percent increase in nicotine patch purchases in the states with a CVS Pharmacy market share of 15 percent or more, in the period immediately following the end of tobacco sales. Most recently, findings showing that customers who had purchased cigarettes exclusively at CVS Pharmacy were 38 percent more likely to stop buying, and presumably stop using, cigarettes altogether were published in the American Journal of Public Health. This research confirmed that the company’s decision had a powerful public health impact by disrupting access to cigarettes and helping more of our customers on their path to better health.
Recognizing the impact it could have on reducing smoking and tobacco use in the country, CVS Health followed up its actions with BE THE FIRST, a five-year $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation. Since it was introduced, BE THE FIRST has delivered meaningful support to the country’s ongoing efforts to prevent smoking and nicotine addiction among youth which is critical to ending tobacco use in the United States. By funding programs with the nation’s leading tobacco control advocates, including the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, CATCH Global Foundation and Truth Initiative, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation has helped reach more than 4 million young people with effective anti-smoking education and healthy behavior programming and is helping 146 colleges and universities advocate for, adopt and implement tobacco-free campus policies.
“We’re encouraged by our contributions to a continuing decline in youth smoking rates, however far too many young people are still using a variety of harmful tobacco and nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes and vapes, that facilitate initiation of tobacco use,” added Brennan.