100 Reasons Why CVS Should Stop Selling Cigarettes
Try to imagine a greater health hypocrisy than 7,000 CVS pharmacies - licensed health care providers - selling and causing smoking related diseases for which they also sell medicines.
Today, May 20, 2011, marks the one year anniversary of CVS drug store protests by the CVS Sells Poison Project. It's time to turn up the heat. Following this list you'll find an invitation to protest in front of your neighborhood CVS store. We hope you'll consider participation in what may someday be seen as one of America's greatest grassroots public health victories. Together, we can and will motivate CVS to stop selling cigarettes.
- Cigarettes are America's leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death.
- CVS sells poison. According to the Surgeon General, tobacco smoke is composed of more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds, including many toxic metals and poison gases.
- The poisons in tobacco smoke are inhaled into the lungs where they enter the bloodstream and are transported to all parts of the body. According to the Surgeon General, "These poisons damage DNA, which can lead to cancer; damage blood vessels and cause clotting, which can cause heart attacks and strokes; and damage the lungs, which can cause asthma attacks, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis."
- CVS knows that studies now link smoking to nearly every body part and organ including: destruction of brain gray and white matter, memory loss, early dementia, depression, aneurysms, cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, hearing loss, premature wrinkling of the skin, gum disease, tooth loss, diminished sense of smell, slower fracture healing with increased bone non-union, disc and back problems, peptic ulcers, Crohn's disease, hip fractures, severe rheumatoid arthritis, atrial fibrillation, sleep disturbance and COPD.
- CVS knows that there are significant associations between cigarette smoking and development of diabetes in both men and women, impaired glycemic control, diabetic complications, and that smokers with diabetes have a 2 to 3 times greater risk of kidney disease.
- CVS knows that smoking reduces a woman's chance of getting pregnant, damages DNA in sperm, and that damage to sperm could decrease fertility and lead to miscarriage or birth defects.
- CVS knows that women who smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk for pregnancy complications, of delivering their babies early, and stillbirth. Their babies are more likely to have low birth weight or to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Tobacco smoke also damages the tissues of the unborn baby's growing brain and lungs and could interfere with the growth of the placenta, the organ that feeds the baby in the womb. This could lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, or low birth weight.
- The International Agency for Research on Cancer has identified 81 cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes.
- According to the Surgeon General, smoking causes cancers of the lung, larynx, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, kidney, cervix, stomach, bone marrow and blood.
- According to the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking.
- Cigarettes are responsible for approximately 443,000 U.S. deaths each year, one in every five deaths.
- Cigarettes are the only product sold by CVS that when used as directed causes disease and death.
- CVS pharmacies are licensed health care providers.
- Health care professionals such as pharmacists should not be forced to work in an ambiguous retail environment that both sells cigarettes (poisonous products) and products designed to improve the health of their customers.
- The World Health Organization code of practice for health professionals prohibits the sale or promotion of cigarettes.
- The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy urges pharmacies to stop selling cigarettes.
- The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy urges students to take jobs at pharmacies that do not sell cigarettes.
- State Boards of Pharmacy are being urged to not renew licenses of pharmacies that sell tobacco products.
- The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education has been urged by the American Pharmacists Association to provide experience programs for pharmacy students only in pharmacies that do not sell tobacco products.
- The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education guidelines state that pharmacy students should no longer be assigned for educational experience at pharmacies that sell cigarettes.
- The National Community Pharmacists Association House of Delegates has urged pharmacist members to consider refraining from selling tobacco products.
- The American Pharmacists Association's House of Delegates resolved to urge all pharmacies to discontinue selling cigarettes.
- The American Medical Association has advocated having cigarettes removed from drug stores.
- CVS knows that smoking causes dangerous plaque buildup inside arteries, that plaque clogs and narrows arteries, and that poisons from tobacco smoke also damage blood vessels and make blood more likely to clot. This can block blood flow and lead to heart attack or stroke.
- CVS is ethically conflicted in that CVS cigarettes cause heart disease while CVS sells heart disease medications.
- CVS is ethically conflicted in that CVS cigarettes cause emphysema and bronchitis while CVS profits from the sale of medications to treat these diseases.
- CVS is currently engaged in helping slowly kill its loyal customers.
- CVS knows that smoking claims roughly half of its adult smoking customers, with females losing an average of 14 years of life, while males lose 13 years.
- CVS knows that addiction to smoking nicotine kills 17 times as many Americans as all illegal drugs combined.
- It makes no economic sense for CVS to poison and kill its customers.
- Children are exposed to CVS cigarette marketing and sales when they accompany their parents to the store.
- Regular frequent exposure to cigarettes at checkout counters increases the attractiveness of cigarettes to youths.
- CVS knows that 80-90% of adult smokers started as children or teens.
- It knows that the cigarette industry must hook each generation of youth in order to survive.
- CVS knows that smoking cigarettes is extremely addictive and that addiction experts contend that it may be harder to stop than heroin or cocaine.
- CVS knows that nicotine dependency hijacks the same brain dopamine pathways as illegal drugs, and that it is as real and permanent as alcoholism.
- CVS knows that research shows that an alarming 26% of youth report signs of loss of control over continued smoking after smoking just 3 to 4 cigarettes, rising to 44% after 5 to 9 cigarettes.
- CVS knows that it is an active collaborator in helping entice youth and young adults to smoke.
- It knows that it is an active nicotine addiction industry partner.
- Licensed health care companies should not encourage and support a deadly and injurious addiction.
- CVS places, advertises and promotes cigarettes in the store location most frequented by all purchasers, including children, behind the checkout counter.
- Regular frequent exposure to cigarettes in a health care facility makes quitting and staying quit more difficult for smokers.
- Checkout counter cigarette marketing and sales also make the act of quitting harder by tempting and teasing quitters as they prepare to leave the store.
- CVS endorses cigarette use by making the purchase of cigarettes highly convenient.
- CVS counters cigarette harm messages by selling them under the same roof as health care products.
- CVS helps to de-stigmatize and normalize cigarette use by prominently displaying cigarettes among its many health care products
- CVS advertises, promotes, distributes and sells an addictive, lethal product.
- CVS collaborates fully with the toxic-tobacco industry to widely legitimize, advertise, promote, distribute and sell its products.
- CVS advertises in its over 7,000 stores using the colorful and inviting displays of cigarette packs stretching behind its checkout counters.
- CVS cigarette marketing falsely teaches youth that adult smokers smoke for pleasure, taste, to rebel, to make new friends, for menthol's coolness or as a right of passage into adulthood.
- CVS knows that up to 90% of daily smokers smoke because they must, because a rising tide of withdrawal anxieties begin to hurt when they don't.
- Currently CVS is a major distributor, in store advertiser, promoter and seller of cigarettes, a lethal, addictive product.
- Selling cigarettes is incompatible with the professional role of pharmacists.
- Selling cigarettes in a pharmacy gives the appearance that they are compatible with health.
- Selling and displaying cigarettes in a pharmacy undermines public health messages that cigarettes are dangerous to health.
- Preventing and treating disease, a significant part of a pharmacist's role, is in direct conflict with selling cigarettes.
- Voluntarily ending the sale of cigarettes by CVS will reinforce the message that as a health care company CVS is licensed to prevent and treat disease.
- Pharmacy revenues will not be adversely affected by voluntarily stopping the sale of cigarettes.
- Prescription Drug Benefit Managers like CVS, funded by the government, should not make deadly and injurious products convenient.
- Selling an addictive, lethal product in over 7,100 stores and 569 MinuteClinics is in no way consistent with CVS's self-perception as a health care leader.
- Trusted pharmacists selling cigarettes "gives the appearance of acceptance" of this product by the health care industry.
- CVS needs to end its collaboration with the toxic-tobacco industry by no longer advertising, promoting, distributing and selling the industry's poisonous products.
- CVS as a major health care provider should clearly focus on promoting the health of its customers, rather than continuing its role as an advertiser, promoter, distributor, and seller of addictive, lethal consumer products.
- Promoting and selling an addictive, lethal product from the most prominent section of your over 7,100 stores is not compatible with CVS's mission as a health care company.
- By refusing to sell cigarettes CVS will earn an opportunity to be recognized as a leader in preventive health care in the United States.
- CVS will be making a clear statement to the Nation that good health, health care and cigarettes do not belong under the same roof.
- Ending sales of cigarettes by CVS will contribute greatly to the continuing de-normalization of smoking in the United States.
- CVS can protect itself from liability suits from plaintiffs' claiming that CVS collaborated with the tobacco industry to sell products that caused them harm.
- CVS has an extraordinary opportunity to gain recognition as a respected leader in preventive health care in the United States.
- CVS would be making a statement that health promotion, health care and cigarettes do not belong under the same roof.
- CVS would greatly contribute to the continuing de-normalization of smoking in American society.
- CVS would no longer need fear that governments will only fund prescription drug benefit programs in pharmacies that do not sell cigarettes.
- CVS will not be seen as profiting from widely distributing a product that kills over 400,000 Americans every year, while sickening hundreds of thousands more.
- CVS can greatly contribute to the public health in the United States by refusing to seek these profits from cigarettes.
- CVS will have an opportunity to create and profit from use of the valuable retail-promotional space vacated by cigarettes behind its checkout counter.
- CVS will not be at a competitive disadvantage if it stops the sale of cigarettes.
- The public strongly supports the notion that CVS as a health care provider should not be selling cigarettes.
- Other pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and Rite Aid will be forced to follow suit, or look foolish for continuing to call themselves "health care providers" while continuing to sell poison to their customers.
- CVS can take credit for its new pro public health action.
- Most pharmacies in other parts of the world do not sell tobacco products.
- Licensed health care facilities should not be promoting and selling lethal, addictive cigarettes.
- Pharmacists and pharmacy students don't want pharmacies to advertise, promote, distribute and sell lethal addictive cigarettes.
- CVS will be praised by the voluntary health organizations (e.g., American Cancer Society), medical societies (e.g., AMA, American Pharmacists Association) and the majority of the general public.
- CVS will be seen as the most progressive leader in the health care arena among chain pharmacies.
- CVS will receive worldwide free publicity for ending its long time collaboration with the tobacco industry.
- CVS will end its blight on the pharmacy profession.
- CVS will be able to put the "CARE" back in its role as a health care company.
- The leading chain pharmacy in the United States should be the health care provider that states that cigarettes and the health care industry are in no way compatible.
- Selling cigarettes in a health care facility validates these products.
- Selling cigarettes in a health care facility undermines the message that cigarettes are extraordinarily harmful and addictive.
- Selling cigarettes is promoting a product that is addictive and lethal.
- Other communities, similar to Boston and San Francisco, are considering ordinances that restrict pharmacies from selling cigarettes, so why not get ahead of the curve and voluntarily do the right thing?
- Other cities besides San Francisco and Boston will begin banning the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies.
- Corporations can show that they care about their communities by being good neighbors and not advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes.
- It is incongruent for a health care provider to sells lethal, addictive cigarettes.
- When drug stores sell cigarettes they legitimize their use.
- Consumers consider CVS to be in the health promoting business.
- CVS executives know that selling cigarettes is contrary to CVS's mission.
- CVS executives know that selling cigarettes in a health care facility is inappropriate.
- If CVS agrees to stop advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes, the CVS Sells Poison Project will end all of its activities.
Invitation to Protest in Front of
Your Neighborhood CVS Store
Have you ever protested in support of any cause ever? It's a liberating experience. Here's your chance!
The objective of the "CVS Sells Poison Project" is simple. It's to motivate 7,000 CVS stores and 500 CVS medical clinics to stop promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes. All it takes to join the cause is a homemade sign such as Dr. Gerace's (pictured in the photo above), an hour or two of your time, and an understanding that while nearly all will support your right to share this important message, there is always the possibility that someone won't.
Key is being respectful of the rights of others to disagree with us as much as we disagree with the insanity of pharmacies selling cigarettes. It's why the act of public protest, at least initially, requires a small measure of courage.
How to Make a Protest Sign
Dr. Gerace has provided images of his CVS sign in three formats: (1) as a .jpg file, (2) as a .gif file and (3) as a .eps file. You can either print them on your printer or copy the files to a thumbnail drive and carry them to your local printing shop where they should be able to print you as large a version as you like.
You can attach your printed sign to posterboard or cardboard. Next, glue or otherwise attach an empty pack of Marlboro to your sign, centering it within the white inverted V shaped area. If you're feeling really creative, you might consider attaching a handle.
Check Your Local Protest Ordinance
Although most cities and towns do not require any formal permit or permission for small protests, it's always best to call Town Hall or your local police department and ask about any requirements to protest on a public sidewalk outside of a business. There's a good chance that your city's protest ordinance, if any, is available free online. Try this Google search: protest + ordinance + your city/state.
Although we each have a constitutionally protected right to engage in peaceful protest in "traditional public forums" such as streets, sidewalks or parks, local government can impose reasonable "time, place and manner" restrictions on speech, including requiring permits.
Be Prepared to Address the Local Media
Depending on how long and where you protest, don't be surprised if the local media arrives and wants to do a short interview. It's also ok to email or telephone your local television stations and newspapers in advance, advising them of where, when and why you'll be protesting.
Be prepared to give a short explanation as to why you are protesting and what you hope to help accomplish. Feel free to print and share this article or any other linked material. The bottom line is that it makes zero sense for a licensed health care provider to be selling and promoting your communities leading cause of preventable death. Together we can and will make a difference!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
Related Reading, Viewing and Activities
April 6, 2011 WUSA Channel 9 video interview entitled "Why Was This Man Protesting Outside of More Than a Dozen D.C. CVS Stores?" It was filmed on the 50th day of protests when Dr. Gerace demonstrated in front of 12 stores in 5 hours.
February 17, 2011 Change.org article entitled "Activists Target Tobacco in Pharmacies with 'CVS Sells Poison' Campaign"
Write CVS's Chief Executive Officer at: CVS CEO Larry Merlo, CVS Corporation, One CVS Drive, Woonsocket, RI 02895
Call CVS's corporate headquarters at (401) 765-1500 and leave a message with the operator. I just called moments ago and told the operator that I will no longer be shopping at CVS until CVS stops selling cigarettes. I was asked for my name, address and my CVS ExtraCare number (the number on the back of the key card we use at CVS), which I gladly gave. Now CVS can monitor my account and the fact that I'm deadly serious about this and will make no further CVS purchases until it stops selling cigarettes.
Sign Change.Org's Petition to "Tell Pharmacies to Stop Selling Tobacco Products."
July 27, 2009 article by CVS entitled "The Myth of Safe Cigarettes
July 27, 2009 article by CVS entitled "Children's Health - Teen Smokers
July 2, 2009 article by CVS entitled "Heart Disease and Smoking
June 5, 2008 7 question CVS quiz entitled "Cool Tools Quizzes - Smoking and Pregnancy
November 14, 2007 Reuters article entitled "CVS wrestles with cigarette sales
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