, Newburyport, MA


February 11, 2014

Others should follow CVS lead on cigarettes

To the editor:

On Feb. 6 the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain said that it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1, a move that will cost them about $2 billion in annual revenue. CVS Caremark leaders said removing tobacco will help improve customers’ health. This is a significant step in reducing smoking and improving health in America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year. Smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle accidents and firearm-related incidents combined.

I am currently enrolled as a graduate student and plan to become primary care nurse practitioner. I chose this path primarily because I no longer felt I had a significant influence on patients’ health-care choices in the acute care hospital setting; by then it was often too little, too late. The focus of advanced practice nursing is health promotion, patient education and ideally assists patients to take ownership of their health and make better lifestyle decisions. While making tobacco less available to consumers doesn’t mean they are making better decisions, it certainly does draw attention to negative aspects of tobacco consumption.

I think it is essential to acknowledge and applaud the efforts of CVS in promoting health and to encourage other retailers to follow suit. We can persuade CVS’ competitors to stop selling tobacco products by supporting CVS with our drug and convenience store purchases. There is no more effective way to have other companies join CVS than by affecting their revenue.

Virginia Cashman

Student nurse practitioner

UMass Lowell

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