CVS is expected to lose $2 billion a year because of its recent vow to quit selling all tobacco products.
The chain’s move was a progressive step in becoming a health care provider over being a retail business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 480,000 individuals die annually from cigarette use or secondhand smoke.
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” CVS chief executive Larry J. Merlo said. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.”
CVS will begin to offer an increase in mini clinics and health advice to assist customers. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that 700 children out of the 3,200 under the age of 18 who try a cigarette each day will become daily smokers. Hence, she explained that 5.6 million children will die prematurely because of diseases linked to smoking.
However, what many individuals don’t realize is American government research is revealing that obesity is overtaking smoking as America’s leading killer.
According to Medscape, 65 percent of people in America suffer from obesity. Perhaps the CVS chain should consider taking sugar products off the shelves or reduce the amount in an attempt to promote healthy eating. The American Journal of Public Health published a study in 2013 stating that one in five deaths are associated with obesity.
“We believe that it is imperative for the U.S. public and those who construct policy for that public to recognize that population health and more than a century of steady gains in life expectancy are being jeopardized by the obesity epidemic. Indeed, evidence has already implicated high rates of obesity as a significant contributor to the United State’s relatively low life expectancy among high-income countries,” explained authors of the study published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Obesity can contribute to diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, cancer, infertility, pack pain, skin infections, ulcers and gallstones.
It is crucial to the nation to understand that the decisions made concerning food and exercise have a direct affect on their well being. As the nation sees deaths increasing due to obesity related diseases, our grocery and retail stores need to take the initiative on assist the nation in living a healthy life.
Such efforts made by CVS concerning tobacco are extremely commendable, but perhaps now we must move towards decreasing sugar based products being sold to our citizens in an attempt to decrease obesity related deaths.
Reach the columnist at Brooke.Ramos@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @brookesramos