Giving Compass’ Take:
• The author shares CVS Health’s planning for their tobacco-free campaign in which they garnered data and relied on collaborative efforts and partnerships to significantly add to the cause of reducing tobacco use, especially among young people.
• How can other store chains emulate the efforts of CVS Health to keep reducing this generation’s smoking habits?
• Read about the RAND Corporation study about anti-smoking strategies that are ineffective.
It’s been more than three years since our company decided to stop selling tobacco in all our stores, and it remains a source of great pride for CVS Health. Without question, going tobacco-free was a bold decision that would significantly impact our bottom line—our tobacco exit was estimated to reduce annual sales by $2 billion—but it was the right decision for our brand, our business, and the health of all Americans.
The decision came out of a realization that not only was the sale of tobacco products a barrier to the future growth of the company as a trusted health care provider, but also cigarettes—which remain the leading preventable cause of death—had no place in a setting where health care was delivered.
To measure the impact of our decision, we completed a study one year after removing tobacco products from our shelves. We found a 1 percent reduction in cigarette-pack sales across all retailers, in states where CVS Pharmacy had a 15 percent or greater share of the retail pharmacy market, reaffirming previous research that availability directly impacts use.
In 2016, we established Be the First, a five-year initiative to help deliver America’s first tobacco-free generation. It’s a lofty aspiration, and with a $50 million investment through 2020, we knew we had to be smart and deliberate to drive results and make an impact on public health.
We have sought out innovative partnerships, collaborations, and alliances in several areas, including prevention, youth advocacy, and behavior change. Today, our partners include the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Cancer Society, Truth Initiative, CATCH Global Foundation, and National Urban League. Our goal through this work is to contribute to a 10 percent decline in new youth smokers in the United States by 2020.
Read the full article about tobacco by Eileen Howard Boone at Stanford Social Innovation Review
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