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Working Towards a Tobacco-Free Future

May 14, 2019 | Community

Part of our commitment to building healthier communities is helping people live tobacco-free lives. One of the best ways we can support the health of our communities and fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health is to help those who smoke quit and ensure those who don’t, never start.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nine out of 10 smokers first try cigarette smoking by age 18, and 98 percent first try smoking by age 26 — establishing extended tobacco use patterns. Preventing tobacco product use among youth is especially critical to addressing the tobacco epidemic in the United States.

A Pledge to Not Work with Agencies that Promote Tobacco Use

Tobacco companies claim that they have left deceptive marketing tactics in the past. However, they are increasingly using new channels to directly target our youth. Tactics such as the promotion of kid-friendly flavors by social media influencers have contributed to the nearly 80 percent rise in vaping among U.S. high school students between 2017 and 2018.

Recognizing this problem, CVS Health recently committed to the Quit Big Tobacco pledge — joining more than 200 organizations vowing to not work with any marketing and public relations agencies that have ties with the tobacco industry. The Quit Big Tobacco campaign was created by Vital Strategies, an international public health organization who promotes its Tobacco-Free Agencies list so that companies can make sure the ad or public relations agencies they partner with do not work for the tobacco industry.

Currently, CVS Health is working to add language outlining the requirement to contracts for both current and future partnerships with all marketing agencies. We are excited to be the first major corporate brand to take this pledge and urge other companies to join us in this critically important fight.

Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth

Five years ago, CVS Health quit selling all tobacco products and made a commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives. A key element of this commitment focuses on our efforts to create the first-ever tobacco-free generation. As a front door to health care in 10,000 communities nationwide, CVS Health is working to help people avoid tobacco use through our pharmacies, MinuteClinic locations and community programs and partnerships.

In addition to investing in cessation programs for people of all ages, CVS Health has made significant investments in tobacco prevention for youth. Be the First is a five-year, $50-million commitment aimed at delivering the first tobacco-free generation by bringing together the nation’s leading anti-tobacco and youth-serving organizations to support education, advocacy and tobacco control and healthy behavior programming.

Through this commitment, we achieved the following milestones in 2018:

  • Provided more than $4 million in support to youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention;
  • Helped 82 college campuses go tobacco-free; and
  • Reached more than 9 million youth with smoking prevention messaging.

We look forward to continuing our work on tobacco-free education and prevention in communities nationwide.

To learn more about our efforts to reduce smoking rates, visit our Tobacco Prevention & Cessation information center. And to stay informed about the most talked-about topics in health care, register for content alerts and our bi-weekly health care newsletter.