News From Terre Haute, Indiana


February 8, 2014

READERS FORUM: Feb. 9, 2014

In praise of the CVS decision

I applaud the decision announced Wednesday by the pharmacy chain CVS that it will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 locations in the U.S., including 296 in Indiana; this is good news for Hoosiers and their families. CVS will phase out sales by Oct. 1.

Ready access to tobacco products is a major cause of tobacco addiction among our youth. Restricting access at a major pharmacy chain will help Indiana lower our high smoking rates among youth and adults, including pregnant women.

Today, CVS is a health care provider with about 35 partnerships with health systems and health insurers across the country. To expand such partnerships CVS and other pharmacy chains must work in concert with health providers, hospitals, public health partners and health insurers to prevent disease and promote more cost-effective care. Selling tobacco is not consistent with these goals.

The enormous economic cost of tobacco use, which in Indiana is approximately $4.7 billion annually, including $487 million in our Indiana Medicaid program, requires new thinking and bold action to lessen the devastation of tobacco addiction and disease.

The CVS decision is a bold, decisive action, the impact of which will likely spur other pharmacy chains and related business to eliminate tobacco from their stores. Americans and Hoosiers will benefit from this action for decades to come. As a tireless advocate of tobacco cessation, I think it is very admirable to see a corporation act with such integrity and place deeds and the health of our communities over profits.

— Stephen J. Jay, M.D.

Professor Emeritus IU School of Medicine

All pharmacies should follow CVS

I applaud CVS for making the easy decision to discontinue selling tobacco products.

It’s about time. The dangers of tobacco use are clear. As mentioned in the article, JR Pharmacies have never sold tobacco products. Good for them. When my wife and I bought our former pharmacy in March 1983, we banned smoking in the store and got rid of the cigarette display on our first day as owners. What took CVS so long? And why wait until October? Stop sales now.

Health care providers such as pharmacies have an ethical obligation not to sell harmful products such as tobacco and alcohol. The state of Indiana should slap a $10 per pack tax on cigarettes to try to deter smoking. All pharmacies should follow the lead established back in 1983 and stop sales of tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

— Joseph Lugar Jr., Terre Haute

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