I was puzzled. “You don’t get what?”
“Well, all the stuff here is to make you better. But they sell cigarettes, which can kill you.”
Yes, score one for mom! I will be the first to pat myself on the back for this one, thankyouverymuch. Since my child was little, like really little, my husband and I began talking to her about the negative side effects of smoking. Neither my husband nor I have ever smoked. We just don’t get it. It doesn’t look cool. It’s not tasty. It’s smelly. It’s expensive. Oh, and as my daughter so wisely noted, it “can kill you.”
Even a girl who is in the second grade can notice the disconnect between a place that sells things to make you healthy — from vitamins to medications — that also sells things that can damage your body. And this is why it is so awesome that CVS/Caremark has made the decision to stop selling cigarettes at their stores nationwide. This isn’t just a business decision. This is a statement.
CVS sent the message that this was done for the well-being of their customers (and their positive corporate messaging, of course). With this decision — which will go into effect by October 1st — CVS will lose money, lots of money. It is estimated that they will incur a loss of $2 billion in sales from tobacco buyers. Yes, TWO BILLION DOLLARS. That’s why this decision is so incredible.
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said Larry J. Merlo, chief executive of CVS. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.”
This isn’t just about those who are already addicted to nicotine. This is a BIG message to kids and one I applaud as an anti-smoking mom. The New York Times reports that Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, “said that each day, some 3,200 children under 18 will try a cigarette and 700 will go on to become daily smokers. That means, she said, that 5.6 million American children alive today will die premature deaths because of diseases linked to smoking. ”
“Today’s CVS/Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation,” she continued. “I hope others will follow their lead in this important step to curtail tobacco use.”
As I write this, my daughter is at school. We often stop by a CVS afterwards to get a juice or a snack. I can’t wait to tell her that they won’t be offering cigarettes anymore. That’s just another message to her that yes, cigarettes are bad. Having the support of a giant corporation in those lessons to your children may not give a promise that they’ll never take up a bad habit, but it just may help. CVS probably saved many lives with this statement and business decision. Let’s hope other pharmacies and big companies follow suit.
Photo Source: Morgue File