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Cancer Society: CVS Tobacco-Sale Ban May Help Smokers Quit

PHOTO: CVS Caremark's plan to kick the habit of selling tobacco products may help its customers also kick the habit. Photo credit: publicdomainpictures.net
PHOTO: CVS Caremark's plan to kick the habit of selling tobacco products may help its customers also kick the habit. Photo credit: publicdomainpictures.net
February 12, 2014

Californians who smoke may have an easier time quitting now that CVS Caremark plans to end all tobacco sales at its stores by this fall.

Tim Gibbs, senior director of government relations for the American Cancer Society of California, said CVS customers struggling to kick the habit will have less tobacco temptation as they shop.

"Policies that restrict access to tobacco products, reduce exposure to tobacco advertising and limit the places that people smoke have a direct effect on reduced smoking rates,” he said, “and that's especially true amongst youth."

CVS Caremark plans to end all tobacco sales by Oct. 1 at all of its 7,600 stores. The company reportedly said selling cigarettes is no longer compatible with its expanding in-store health-care services.

President Obama - who has waged his own battle to give up cigarettes in recent years - applauded CVS, calling the move a powerful example that helps in the battle to reduce the deaths and illnesses linked to smoking. Gibbs said it may also put pressure on such major CVS competitors as Walgreens to follow suit and kick the habit of selling tobacco products.

"It's important that places that we go for health are also places where we aren't exposed to one of the most unhealthy things we can do, which is smoking tobacco," he said.

According to the cancer society, tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in California, with more than 36,000 deaths reported each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40 million Americans smoke and more than 400,000 die from a smoking-related illness each year.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA