CVS to halt sales of tobacco products
CVS Caremark, the second largest U.S. drugstore chain announced Wednesday that it will discontinue sales of all tobacco products in its stores. The phaseout of cigarettes, chew tobacco, and other tobacco products is to be completed by Oct. 1.
CVS Caremark, which has been working with doctors and hospitals to improve healthcare delivery, acted on the recognition that selling a product that is responsible for thousands of deaths annually is inconsistent with its new direction as part of the healthcare delivery system.
PACE Coalition, which has been a leader in the fight to reduce adult tobacco use and to prevent youth from taking up tobacco, applauds the decision by CVS and hopes that other pharmacy operators will follow the company's lead.
PACE Coalition and the role of prevention
Prevention as public policy is based on the idea that avoiding problems is less costly than dealing with their consequences. Changing your vehicle’s oil regularly to prevent engine damage and avoid costly future repairs is one example of prevention at work.
Prevention, as a public health policy, follows the same logic: Preventing threats to individual and community health from becoming major problems is far less costly for all than dealing with the aftermath of social ills that were allowed to fester and spread. Since it saves capital and resources, prevention has gained momentum in recent years as lawmakers scramble to find more effective ways to use taxpayer money.
At PACE Coalition, although we work in the broad field of prevention, we also think of what we do as sustaining healthy communities through education. Our goal is to inform individuals, families and communities about avoiding harm, whether from substance use, poor nutrition, or dangerous practices like texting while driving.
Supporting healthy families and youth with programs like the Summer Activities Fair that make it easier for busy parents to enroll young people in multiple summer activities is another way in which PACE and its community partners work to maintain healthy communities.
Anyone who does things like changing furnace filters, or getting annual flu shots is practicing prevention and can understand how PACE Coalition and prevention work in our communities.
50 years ago: A momentous decision
When Surgeon General Luther Terry released his report on the effects tobacco on public health, the veil of misinformation began to lift and the American public reacted. So too, did the tobacco industry which continued to fight back as the number of smokers began a long slide. Read "Professor Hanington's Speaking of Science" article in the Jan. 11, 2014 Elko Daily Free Press. Click here.
Research finds correlation between marijuana use and damage to critical brain structures
In December, NBC News reported that according to researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, heavy marijuana use may damage brain structures critical to memory formation and cognitive function. The research was published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin last month.
The study found that regular marijuana users perfomed worse than non-users on tests of cognitive function even months or years after last use of the drug. The report came out just as Colorado prepared to begin the sale of marijuana for recreational use and other states continue to look at legalizing marijuana sales.
To read the full NBC story, click here.
Preventing youth tobacco use
Every day, more than 3,800 U.S. youth under age 18 try cigarettes for the first time according to a 2012 report by the Surgeon General. Because of nicotine's highly addictive properties, many will become long-term users. Sadly, many of them will experience worsening health and premature death due to tobacco related diseases.
We know, as do tobacco companies, that if young adults haven't tried tobacco products by age 26, they are almost competely free of the risk of becoming users. Tobacco companies are constantly looking to replace the customers who die each year from tobacco use and they know that if they don't get youth and young adults started early, they are unlikey to ever have them as customers.
The good news is that parents and other concerned adults can help reduce the number of young people who try tobacco. To find out what we know about tobacco use and its prevention, download the free booklet "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults." If you are a tobacco user who would like to quit, call the Nevada Tobacco Users Helpline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).