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Ulmer Gives Public Health View on CVS Announcement

February 6, 2014

Lisa UlmerCVS Caremark announced on February 5, 2014 that it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by October 1, 2014 at its stores nationwide.  Lisa Ulmer, ScD, MSW, a professor in the Department of Community Health and Prevention and an expert in tobacco prevention and policy, provided a public health view of the announcement.

"The announcement that CVS Caremark will no longer sell tobacco products is an important milestone in the 50-year US history of tobacco prevention and control.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths per year, with the heaviest burden concentrated among lower-income racial/ethnic minority populations. While there is no single effective way to prevent tobacco use, limiting access to tobacco products in drug stores plays a critical role, particularly for youth.

The CVS Caremark decision is not only a powerful message and action for public health, but, more intriguingly, has the potential to initiate a widespread movement to ban sales of tobacco products in US drug stores and pharmacies. Moreover, the CVS Caremark decision is an example of how federal actions, state and local actions, and free market advocacy can combine to promote health and prevent avoidable deaths."


For more information about retailers and youth tobacco prevention, listen to Dr. Ulmer’s Public Health Minute.