February 5, 2014
Statement by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on CVS Tobacco Announcement
The Department of Health and Human Services applauds CVS Caremark Corp. for their leadership in helping to make the next generation tobacco-free.
CVS Caremark’s announcement that CVS/pharmacy stores will no longer sell cigarettes and other tobacco products is an unprecedented step in the retail industry. We also commend CVS Caremark on their new national smoking cessation program. With more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations, this private sector health leader’s new policy will have considerable impact.
Last month, I called on all sectors of the United States – from businesses to local and state governments to the faith community – to join in the Obama Administration’s sustained effort to make the next generation tobacco-free. Smoking takes an enormous toll on our friends, families and communities. As we know from the recently released 50th Anniversary Surgeon General Report on smoking and health, nearly 500,000 Americans die early each year due to smoking, and smoking costs us $289 billion annually. Each day, more than 3,200 youth under age 18 in the United States try their first cigarette and more than 700 kids under age 18 become daily smokers. If we fail to reverse course, 5.6 million American children alive today will die prematurely due to smoking. This is unacceptable.
We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America’s young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit. Today’s CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead in this important new step to curtail tobacco use.
Additional recent tobacco-related announcements from the Department of Health and Human Services:
Surgeon General report says 5.6 million U.S. children will die prematurely unless current smoking rates drop:
FDA launches its first national public education campaign to prevent, reduce youth tobacco use: