The Coalition commends the FDA for the steps it has taken to reduce tobacco use and applauds the agency’s efforts to extend its regulatory authority over e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. It’s an important first step, but we believe the FDA can and should do more to regulate how and to whom e-cigarettes are marketed.
In December 2011, a group of our community partners joined us for a screening of the Charles Evans Jr.’s film, Addiction Incorporated. The film is now available on DVD for schools, universities, libraries and other educational institutions.
The film explains how former how former Philip Morris scientist Victor DeNoble’s unexpected discovery of an addiction ingredient in tobacco led to cigarettes that are even more addictive and how his Congressional testimony forever changed how tobacco is sold and marketed.
Anyone interested in public health and tobacco control will find this film engaging. Hard-hitting, suspenseful and eye-opening, Addiction Incorporated shows how Big Tobacco used its resources to intimidate scientists, the media, and public and elected officials to protect its profits.
Today, Big Tobacco spends $8.8 billion a year on tobacco marketing, much of it targeting youth. The current “Be Marlboro” campaign is just one example of the kind of aggressive and manipulative marketing the tobacco industry uses to encourage youth to smoke. Big Tobacco will stop at nothing to recruit youth as “replacement smokers” to ensure the economic future of their industry.
Addiction Incorporated reminds us that truth and sound science will always triumph over commerce and conspiracy.
A new concern has arisen in the debate over the safety of e-cigarettes—poison.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that the number of calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarette exposure rose from one a month in September 2010 to 215 a month in February 2014. More than half of the reported exposures were among young children.
We applaud CVS Caremark’s bold decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. By making its customers’ health a top priority and refusing to sell these deadly products, CVS can help reduce tobacco use and save lives.
Pharmacies now provide an increasing array of health care, including general check-ups and management of chronic conditions. With this focus on wellness, why should pharmacies sell the only consumer product that when used as intended will kill at least half of its long-term users.
In Boston and San Francisco, pharmacies are already prohibited from selling tobacco products. With more than 700 pharmacies in New York City selling tobacco products, CVS now stands apart by placing people’s health over tobacco profits.
CVS may lose $2 billion in sales in the first year, but that’s a very small portion of their roughly $123 billion annual revenue. Pharmacy retailers earn the lion’s share of their profits from prescription and non-prescription drugs. They stand to increase those profits by strategically strengthening their brand as a promoter of health and health care.
We encourage all pharmacies to follow CVS Caremark’s lead and join the fight against the tobacco epidemic.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s report on The Health Consequences of Smoking reminds us just how far we’ve come over the last 50 years in our efforts to control tobacco use and prevent our youth from lighting up. Smoking rates have more than halved since 1964 (42 percent compared to 18 percent in 2012). Thanks to our comprehensive tobacco control programs at the national and local levels,eight million Americans have been saved from premature death, and their lives have been extended by an average of almost 20 years.
January 11, 2014 marks an important milestone in public health—the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. That landmark report was the first to definitely link smoking with lung cancer and heart disease.