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CVS goes tobacco-free

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New York families looking to lead tobacco-free lives can breathe a sigh of relief - the major drugstore retailer CVS/phamacy has taken a significant step to discourage the use of tobacco products. CVS Caremark which oversees CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic, recently announced that cigarettes and other tobacco products will no longer be sold at their more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores by October 1, 2014.

Minimizing access to tobacco products may discourage children from starting a tobacco habit. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4,000 people younger than 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette. This equates to nearly 400,000 young people become daily smokers each year.

In a letter released from Dr. Andrew Sussman, President of MinuteClinic and Senior Vice President and Associate Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark, he states, "In this evolving healthcare landscape, retail health clinics and pharmacies have become more involved in the management of chronic diseases, helping patients with conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. The truth of the matter is, all of these chronic health conditions can be made worse by smoking, which causes more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S., annually. Because of this, we feel that removing tobacco products from our shelves is the right thing for CVS Caremark to do for our patients and customers."

The decision to stop selling tobacco products is in alignment with the recommendations of the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and American Lung Association, who have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail destinations with pharmacies.

For those looking to kick the habit, MinuteClinic currently offers a personalized smoking cessation program in more than 800 clinic locations inside CVS/pharmacy stores in 28 states and DC. The program provides personalized counseling and ongoing support from trained nurse practitioners and physician assistants to help support patients on their journey to a tobacco-free lifestyle.

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