“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS, in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

But this isn’t just about public health. Already the decision is garnering heavy media coverage, which could serve to counteract the company’s estimated revenue shortfall. The move, which some might see as long overdue at a one stop shop that doubles as a convenience store and pharmacy, could be a savvy publicity coup that builds brand loyalty with certain demographics. That’s especially true of the 67 percent of Americans who view smoking as either an extremely or a very serious problem for society.

Already Wednesday, Merlo appeared on CBS’s This Morning to talk about the decision, and his store. “This decision really underscores the role that CVS is playing in our health care system,” he told Charlie Rose. “There’s a growing emphasis on healthy outcomes, managing chronic disease.” Merlo also said that the $2 billion annual loss is part of his company’s long term growth strategy, and emphasized that “we’re evolving into a health care company.”

And it’s personal. Merlo’s father, he told CBS, was a smoker who died young from cancer. Merlo said he hasn’t yet spoken with other major drugstore executives about the move.

The White House immediately praised the decision. President Obama, who has been a smoker, hailed it as a “powerful example” that could help millions of Americans quit smoking.

“Today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” Obama said.

The pharmacy will also undertake a national smoking cessation program, Merlo said in a statement. The program will begin in the spring and include online resources as well as information and treatment at CVS pharmacies and MinuteClinics.

The announcement comes as efforts to curb tobacco use are again increasing nationwide. The 50th Annual Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Tobacco, released last month, added several ailments to the roster of diseases caused by smoking.

The FDA announced a major antitobacco campaign Tuesday to prevent and reduce smoking among young people.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined the president in applauding the decision, calling it an “unprecedented step in the retail industry.”

“We need an all hands on deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America’s young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit,” she said in a statement. “Today’s CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco free generation.”

CVS is the second largest drugstore chain in the nation, behind Walgreens, which also sells tobacco products. Michael Polzin, a Walgreens spokesman, told the Wall Street Journal that the company has been “evaluating this product category for some time to balance the choices our customers expect from us, with their ongoing health needs.”

E-cigarettes won’t help you quit, study finds – webmd

Winston cigarettes on tumblr

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) Contrary to some advertising claims, electronic cigarettes don’t help people quit or cut down on smoking, a new study says.

Users of e cigarettes inhale vaporized nicotine but not tobacco smoke. The unregulated devices have been marketed as smoking cessation tools, but studies to date have been inconclusive on that score, the study noted.

“When used by a broad sample of smokers under ‘real world’ conditions, e cigarette use did not significantly increase the chances of successfully quitting cigarette smoking,” said lead researcher Dr. Pamela Ling, an associate professor at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California, San Francisco.

These findings based on nearly 1,000 smokers are consistent with other studies and contradict the claims frequently found in e cigarette advertising, she said.

“Advertising suggesting that e cigarettes are effective for smoking cessation should be prohibited until such claims are supported by scientific evidence,” Ling said.

For the study, Ling’s team analyzed data reported by 949 smokers, 88 of whom used e cigarettes at the start of the study.

One year later, 14 percent of the smokers had quit overall, with similar rates in both groups.

“We found that there was no difference in the rate of quitting between smokers who used an e cigarette and those who did not,” Ling said.

There was no relationship between e cigarette use and quitting, even after taking into account the number of cigarettes smoked per day, how early in the day a smoker had a first cigarette and intention to quit smoking, Ling added.

However, the researchers noted that the small number of e cigarette users may have limited the ability to find an association between e cigarette use and quitting.

The report, published online March 24 in JAMA Internal Medicine, also found that women, younger adults and people with less education were most likely to use e cigarettes.

One expert said the study is flawed and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

“It’s an example of bogus or junk science,” said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University School of Public Health.

“That’s because the study does not examine the rate of successful smoking cessation among e cigarette users who want to quit smoking or cut down substantially on the amount that they smoke, and who are using e cigarettes in an attempt to accomplish this,” Siegel said. “Instead, the study examines the percentage of quitting among all smokers who have ever tried e cigarettes for any reason.”

Many of the smokers who tried e cigarettes may have done so out of curiosity, Siegel said.

“It is plausible, in fact, probable, that many of these 88 smokers were not actually interested in quitting or trying to quit with electronic cigarettes,” he said. “These products have become very popular and have gained widespread media attention, and it is entirely possible that many of these smokers simply wanted to see what the big fuss is all about.”