MMS Welcomes CVS Caremark Decision to Stop Selling Tobacco Products

Contact:
Richard P. Gulla
(781) 434-7101
rgulla@mms.org

Waltham, Mass. – February 5, 2014 – The following statement is attributable to Ronald Dunlap, M.D., President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the statewide association of physicians with more than 24,000 members: 

"The announcement that CVS Caremark will no longer sell tobacco products in its stores is a welcome and exciting step in the continuing campaign against the leading cause of preventable disease and premature death in the United States. Following on the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General’s 50th anniversary report on tobacco issued last month, this decision represents a milestone in tobacco prevention efforts by eliminating the availability of tobacco at more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations nationwide. 

"It has long been the position of the Massachusetts Medical Society that the sale of such products in health care facilities is inconsistent and contradictory with health and well-being. 

"As a cardiologist for 34 years, I have seen the devastating effects of tobacco on too many patients for far too long.  Heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, and other disorders related to smoking have taken a huge toll.

"We must remember that nearly 44 million American adults still smoke, and tobacco accounts for some 443,000 deaths each year.  Tobacco use also claims a huge part of our nation’s health care expense, at $96 billion in direct medical costs annually. 

"The medical evidence on the personal and public health consequences of tobacco use is overwhelming. Dozens of reports by the U. S. Surgeon General over five decades have made that abundantly clear.  

"We especially hope that young people recognize the significance of this decision. Nearly all tobacco use begins in childhood and adolescence, and every day, more than 1,000 youth under 18 become daily cigarette smokers. The use of multiple tobacco products, also, is common among young people, with smokeless tobacco, flavored cigars, electronic cigarettes, and similar new products posing more challenges.  

"CVS Caremark’s action reinforces a powerful message that tobacco harms and kills and that tobacco has no place in a facility whose primary purpose is health care.  Most importantly, it will help to save lives, reduce illness, and contain health care costs.

"We urge others to follow the company’s lead."


The Massachusetts Medical Society, with more than 24,000 physicians and student members, is dedicated to educating and advocating for the patients and physicians of Massachusetts. The Society, under the auspices of NEJM Group, publishes the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading global medical journal and web site, and NEJM Journal Watch alerts and publications covering 13 specialties. The Society is also a leader in continuing medical education for health care professionals throughout Massachusetts, conducting a variety of medical education programs for physicians and health care professionals. Founded in 1781, MMS is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the country.

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