Published Feb 6, 2014
The news that CVS is no longer going to sell tobacco products is, from a physician prospective, probably one of the most laudable stands a major Goliath has ever taken. It’s always possible that this is just a huge PR ploy, but I don’t think it is. And if it is, I don’t care. It’s still a really good thing. It has always been a mystery to me that the very stores which are supposed to help people stay healthy make a huge profit selling the equivalent of poison.
While kicking the cigarette habit is not the most common New Year’s resolution (losing weight holds that title), it is the resolution that insures the greatest benefit towards a longer, healthier life. The struggle is more than worth it since in addition to heart disease, lung cancer and emphysema, women who smoke are also at risk for osteoporosis, infertility, pregnancy complications and cancers such as cervical, vulvar, vaginal, bladder, skin and breast. Add to the list incontinence, early menopause, and wrinkles. Did I mention the just released study that shows that men and women who don’t smoke get far more offers on on-line dating sites?
Having said that, smoking cessation is hard, really hard. Even when someone is highly motivated, it is not unusual to try multiple times before being successful. As Mark Twain said, “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it a thousand times.”
So whether you replace nicotine by chewing gum, putting on a patch, spraying it in your nose, inhaling it, or sucking on a lozenge, or take a prescription medication such as bupropion (Wellbutrin) or varenicline (Chantix), failure rates are sky high. Making cigarettes less accessible not only sends an important message, but it is a great step for those trying to kick the habit. This is one of those smart business decisions that we should get behind as consumers and show our support for a company that wants to do well by doing good.