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CVS Claims Its Ban on Cigarettes Has Decreased Smoking

Pharmacy chain reports measurable reduction in cigarette purchases

CVS/pharmacy has released new data showing a measurable reduction in cigarette purchases over the past year. The company also announced that it is renewing its commitment to creating a tobacco-free generation through a joint initiative to launch a school-based tobacco-prevention program.  

A study conducted by the CVS Health Research Institute evaluated cigarette pack purchases at drug, food, big box, dollar, convenience, and gas station retailers during the eight months after CVS/pharmacy stopped selling tobacco products. The study found an additional 1% reduction in cigarette pack sales in states where CVS/pharmacy had a 15% or greater share of the retail pharmacy market, compared with states with no CVS/pharmacy stores. Over the same 8-month period, the average smoker in these states purchased five fewer cigarette packs, and, in total, approximately 95 million fewer packs were sold.

Further bolstering the impact of CVS/pharmacy’s tobacco removal, the CVS Health Research Institute study showed a 4% percent increase in nicotine patch purchases in the states with a CVS/pharmacy market share of 15 percent of more, in the period immediately following the end of tobacco sales. This indicates that there was also a positive effect on attempts to quit smoking.

The impact of CVS Health’s tobacco cessation efforts can also be measured in the reach of its pharmacists and nurse practitioners, who have worked to support customers’ efforts to quit smoking. Since September 3, 2014, the average number of MinuteClinic “Start to Stop” smoking- cessation visits conducted per month nearly doubled. CVS pharmacists counseled more than 260,000 patients about smoking cessation and filled nearly 600,000 nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) prescriptions. The company also distributed millions of smoking-cessation informational brochures and hundreds of thousands of “Last Pack” toolkits, and educated more than one million people via its Online Cessation Hub on CVS.com.

Source: CVS Health; September 3, 2015

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