Tobacco-free for five years

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Five years ago, we made the bold decision to eliminate tobacco products from all of our CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide, and we’re still the only national pharmacy to do so.

Not only did our decision lead to 100 million fewer packs of cigarettes being sold in the first year since their removal, but we also took our efforts beyond our stores, helping 228 colleges and universities become tobacco free over the past five years and committing $50 million to deliver the first tobacco-free generation through our Be The First initiative.

And with the significant rise in teen e-cigarette use, we’re now working to combat vaping, too, including a $10 million commitment in 2019 to support youth smoking and e-cigarette prevention strategies and education in partnership with Discovery Education and CATCH Global Foundation, and our pledge earlier this year not to work with advertising or public relations agencies who work with tobacco and e-cigarette companies.

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In 2014, we quit tobacco.

Nearly 65%

of Americans agree that our decision to stop selling tobacco reduces the risk of chronic diseaseStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults


of adults agree that retailers have an obligation to limit access to tobacco and e-cigarette productsStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults


of adults support improving community education about the dangers of smokingStatistics from an August 2019 Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults

Beyond tobacco: Taking steps to transform health care

But our decision to eliminate tobacco was just the start. As a health care company now combined with Aetna, we’re taking even bolder steps to transform the consumer health care experience and help lead our customers, patients and the communities we serve on a path to better health.

On our shelves, customers now have access to more health-focused products and services than ever before. And we recently became the first and only national retailer to require that all vitamins and supplements undergo third-party testing to confirm they meet our high standards.

We’re also removing chemicals like parabens and phthalates from our store brand products and we took SPF less than 15 off our shelves.

At the local level, we’re building healthier communities with a $100 million investment in health and wellness, which includes programs aimed at helping people manage the most prevalent chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Moving into 2020, we will expand our focus on tobacco cessation and prevention, particularly within the Medicaid program where smoking rates are considerably higher than among all adults. We’ll be working with Aetna Better Health managed Medicaid plans and together with CVS Caremark clients interested in creating or expanding smoking cession efforts for their Medicaid members.

At CVS Health, we know that health is a personal journey. And from tobacco removal to our many other health-focused services and offerings, we’re committed to navigating that journey hand-in-hand with our customers and patients to ensure that the future of care is one in which everyone can achieve their best health.

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Truth Initiative

Logo of the Truth Initiative

CVS Health and Truth Initiative® have partnered to help end smoking and tobacco use at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and community colleges across the country with the goal of increasing the number of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campuses.

The “truth × CVS Health Foundation” tobacco-free campus initiative is part of CVS Health’s Be The First campaign, the company’s five year, $50 million commitment to helping deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation have set actionable and measurable goals for Be The First, including a doubling of the number of tobacco-free educational institutions in the United States.

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Support for ending tobacco use on campus

8 in 10

College students approve of policies that prohibit tobacco use on campus

Keeping campuses smoke- and tobacco-free

While smoking rates among youth and young adults have fallen in recent decades, tobacco use remains a significant public health concern. Fewer than one-half of all HBCUs and fewer than one-third of all community colleges have 100 percent smoke-free policies in place.Based on the Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities list the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation published on April 3, 2017.

Statistics show that nearly all smokers — 99 percent — begin using tobacco before age 27. We believe strongly that colleges and universities can help to prevent students from develop a lifelong and potentially life-threatening habit by adopting tobacco-free campus policies.

The Truth Initiative hosts awareness events on campuses and employs several community outreach managers responsible for connecting with schools across the country. Through support from the CVS Health Foundation, the Truth Initiative has provided funding to 106 grantees, including 42 HBCUs and 64 community colleges. At the end of 2017, a total of 61 colleges, including 18 HBCU grantees and 43 community college grantees, had successfully adopted 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policies.

Visit the Truth Initiative’s website to learn more.

American Cancer Society

Logo of the American Cancer Society

Supporting the fight against cancer

CVS Health understands how important it is to attack cancer from every angle. That’s why we’ve pledged to raise a minimum of $10 million for the American Cancer Society® over three years. The money raised will fund breakthrough research with a focus on reducing smoking and tobacco use. Donate today.

The second annual campaign kicks off with in-store fundraising from August 4 through 24, 2019, giving CVS Pharmacy customers the opportunity to donate at the registers of 8,000 locations nationwide.

In addition to in-store fundraising, CVS Health and American Cancer Society are working together to identify opportunities along a patient’s cancer journey to increase access to health products and services along the way. CVS Health is also the official pharmacy retailer of American Cancer Society.

This year, CVS Pharmacy customers can also support the American Cancer Society by purchasing a Hallmark greeting card. For every Hallmark card purchased from August 4 through 24, $1 will go to the American Cancer Society, up to $50,000. Shoppers will also find an exclusive line of cards that Hallmark developed with the American Cancer Society to help people connect when they may not have the words.

A long-standing partnership

The CVS Health Foundation and American Cancer Society partnered in 2016 to deliver more than $3.5 million in grants to 125 institutions of higher learning to help accelerate and expand the number of 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free college and university campuses throughout the United States. The grants help institutions take a comprehensive approach to implement tobacco-free campus policies, including cessation, education and support services for students.

The partnership created the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative, part of Be The First, CVS Health’s five-year, $50 million initiative that supports education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming.

Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative

Accelerating and expanding the adoption of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.

Read more

American Cancer Society and CVS Health announce second annual campaign to fund cancer patient services and breakthrough research

An in-store opportunity to honor and support family and friends affected by cancer.

Read more

American Lung Association

Logo of the American Lung Association

Joining forces to help save more lives affected by COVID-19

Now more than ever, lung health is a critical concern. That’s why CVS Health is partnering with the American Lung Association (ALA) to support their new COVID-19 Action Initiative, which will increase access to the vaccine for those who need it most and expand detection tests and treatment therapies to defend against respiratory viruses.

COVID-19 can have a devastating impact on the lungs, leaving 36 million Americans living with lung disease at high risk.

Cough and shortness of breath are the two most common symptoms, and severe cases can lead to pneumonia or respiratory failure. We’re still learning about the disease and the potential for long-term impacts. Testing and a vaccine are key to ending the pandemic. The COVID-19 Action Initiative will build on the ALA’s extensive lung health experience and existing research network to help save more lives impacted by COVID-19, especially for those individuals most vulnerable to or hardest hit by the respiratory virus, including older adults, those living with a lung disease, and Black and Hispanic communities.

Four teen-aged students of various backgrounds and genders sit on a teal-colored sofa while smiling.

Tobacco-free resources

CVS Health remains the only national retail pharmacy to stop the sale of tobacco products. We are also committed to helping people lead tobacco free lives. Through our company and the CVS Health Foundation, we’re investing $50 million through 2020, through an initiative we call #BeTheFirst, which aims to help deliver the nation’s first tobacco-free generation.

We are working with leading anti-tobacco and youth organizations across the country to support comprehensive education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming. With our partners, we're working towards contributing to a 3% decline in youth smoking rate; a 10% decline in the number of new youth smokers; and doubling the number of tobacco-free colleges and universities.

As part of our initiative, we have invested in tobacco-free resources for students, parents, teachers, schools and youth organizations. These tools and curricula cover topics including the dangers of tobacco, e-cigarette use, healthy behaviors, and advocacy training. Below is a list of key resources that are available for youth-serving organizations to leverage:

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Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative

We’re clearing the air at campuses nationwide.

The CVS Health Foundation, American Cancer Society® and Truth Initiative® are awarding grants to hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities as part of a growing movement to accelerate and expand the number of campuses that are 100 percent smoke and tobacco free. With more than 99 percent of smokers starting by age 26, college and universities are an important partner in helping to reduce tobacco use.

The time is right to take action.

We’ve made great progress, but there is more that we can do. Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Of the nation’s roughly 20 million college and university students, more than 1 million have been projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking.

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Support for ending tobacco use on campus

8 in 10

college students approve of policies that prohibit tobacco use on campus

Smart Campuses Quit

These schools make the grade for going tobacco free.

Hats off to these U.S. colleges and universities who are committed to developing 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

See full list of schools going tobacco free

Share the good news!

Smart Campuses Quit! Will your school or alma mater be next? Tweet or post on Facebook or LinkedIn to your school to show your support!

I support 100% tobacco-free policies on college campuses! Who will be the next to quit? #SmartCampusesQuit

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Be the First

The Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative is part of Be the First CVS Health’s five-year, $50 million initiative that supports education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming. One goal includes doubling the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses in the United States.

Learn more

Commit to quit

November 15 is the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout. The annual effort encourages smokers to make a plan to quit for good.

Learn more
Make a plan to quit for good.

Smart campuses quit. Will yours?

Help your college advocate for, adopt and implement a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy.

Send a letter to your campus administrators

Be The First

Together, we can help deliver the first tobacco-free generation.

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Let’s make history together

We’re helping deliver the first generation to be tobacco-free. As the nation’s largest pharmacy innovation company, CVS Health is uniquely positioned to help people on their path to better health, which includes playing a leading role in helping people lead tobacco-free lives. That’s why, through our company and the CVS Health Foundation, we’re investing $50 million and working with the nation’s leading anti-tobacco and youth organizations to support comprehensive education, advocacy, tobacco control and healthy behavior programming to help those who smoke quit and ensure those who don’t never start.

Part of our commitment to deliver the first tobacco-free generation includes a partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, American Cancer Society® and Truth Initiative® to award grants to hundreds of U.S. colleges and universities. Our Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative is part a growing movement to accelerate and expand the number of campuses that are 100 percent smoke and tobacco free.

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In addition, we have invested in tobacco-free resources for students, parents, teachers, schools and youth organizations. These tools and curricula cover topics including the dangers of tobacco, e-cigarette use, healthy behaviors, and advocacy training.

Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,200 children under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette, with 580 who become regular, daily smokers. We have an opportunity to end this persistent epidemic, and ensure the health of 5.6 million children alive today who are at risk of becoming a tobacco statistic tomorrow.

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CVS Health is investing


over 5 years to extend our commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives, and move us one step closer towards a tobacco-free generation.


youth reached with tobacco education curriculum

We can’t do it alone

With our partners, we’re working towards contributing to a 3% decline in youth smoking rate; a 10% decline in the number of new youth smokers; and doubling the number of tobacco-free colleges and universities.

American Cancer Society
American Lung Association
Discovery Education
Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
Truth Initiative
Tobacco Free Kids
Do Something
National Urban League
Catch Global Foundation
American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation
Yale Center for Health & Learning Games
Shape America

Tobacco-free resources

Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death in the United States. Explore resources that help people live tobacco-free lives.

Smoking Cessation Resources
CDC Guide for Parents of Teens
Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Resource Center
Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative
Voter Views on Tobacco Use on College Campuses

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Pharmacists Teach

Educating students and parents about prescription drug misuse

Prescription drug misuse and abuse can impact our nation’s youth, who face peer pressure and a lack of knowledge about the dangers of misuse.

As part of our ongoing commitment to help educate the public about the challenges surrounding addiction, CVS Health created Pharmacists Teach, a no-cost educational prevention program that provides students and parents with information about prescription drug misuse and abuse.

Since 2015, Pharmacists Teach has reached more than 560,000 students and parents nationwide and that number continues to grow.

Student-focused education

Since 2015, CVS Pharmacists have delivered education to students in grades 6 through 12 at schools, youth organizations, and faith-based groups. Led by one of our pharmacists, students have been able to learn the facts and hear stories that share how the lives of other youth were forever changed by misuse or abuse of prescription drugs.

Now, we are excited to announce CVS Health and Discovery Education have partnered to further expand the Pharmacists Teach program into the classroom with a no-cost prevention program, Dose of Knowledge. This program provides standards-aligned resources to educators and pharmacists across the U.S. This program strives to empower educators and pharmacists to address substance misuse and educate students to make good decisions for the health and well-being of themselves and their community.

Youth presentations can be delivered to groups of any size, from small groups to large assemblies, and is delivered at no cost to the school or organization.

Parent-focused education

Research shows that children who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t get this information at home.DEA/ED. Growing Up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention

With this in mind, we expanded our outreach to create a prevention education program for adults to encourage parents, caregivers, friends and family members to talk about prescription misuse and abuse by arming them with knowledge about commonly abused drugs and how to identify the signs and symptoms of prescription misuse and abuse as well as helpful tips and tools needed to navigate challenging questions and answers around the topic.

“Prescription for Parents” includes impactful videos of real life stories and is led by a pharmacist who can answer questions about prescription misuse and abuse.

This presentation can be delivered to groups of any size at school parent meetings, community centers, religious organizations, and company meetings.

Contact us

If you’re interested in bringing these programs to your school, community or business, email us at

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Pharmacists Teach


adolescents, on average, state to misuse prescription pain relievers each day.

Helping colleges quit tobacco

Helping colleges quit tobacco
Bottom of the article

At Healthy Communities News, we spotlight the people and places that are tackling local health challenges in impactful ways. The University of San Francisco (USF) is one of over 200 colleges and universities adopting policies to eliminate tobacco from their campuses as part of the CVS Health Foundation Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative. It’s a part of the $50 million commitment to help deliver the first tobacco-free generation launched by CVS Health soon after it quit selling tobacco products five years ago. We visited USF to see what a tobacco-free campus looks like and sat down with students, staff and our partner at the American Cancer Society for their thoughts on going 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free.

Students talk tobacco: Getting real with Temple University and Truth Initiative

With 99 percent of smokers beginning by the age of 26, college is a critical time to prevent the start of life-long addiction to nicotine and tobacco. Temple University in Philadelphia went smoke- and tobacco-free in July of 2019. We sat down with a group of their students for a candid conversation on how the program is going in its early days. We also chatted with Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, a national public health organization focused on youth tobacco prevention known for its edgy, award-winning “Truth” campaign.

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CVS Health launches ‘Transform Health 2030’ corporate social responsibility strategy with its 13th annual CSR report

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) today launched its 13th annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) report and unveiled Transform Health 2030, the company’s new CSR roadmap for the next decade. The report lays the groundwork for how the company will transform health in four priority areas: Healthy People, Healthy Business, Healthy Community and Healthy Planet. It outlines the ways CVS Health is simplifying the health care system, supporting the personal and professional development of colleagues, investing in community health at the local level and setting bold goals to reduce environmental impact.

“Our corporate social responsibility strategy, Transform Health 2030, reflects our commitment to bringing transformative change to health care access and delivery, while meeting and exceeding the needs of our patients, members, customers, clients, colleagues, supply chain and environment,” said Eileen Howard Boone, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility & Philanthropy and Chief Sustainability Officer for CVS Health.

This year’s report is the first that includes data of the newly combined enterprise following CVS Health’s combination with Aetna. The Transform Health 2030 roadmap was developed based on outcomes of the company’s comprehensive materiality assessment, conducted in 2019.

Each pillar of the Transform Health 2030 strategy leverages the assets, scale and expertise of CVS Health to create impact. These pillars and associated accomplishments covered in the 2019 CSR report include:

Healthy Peopledelivering on CVS Health’s purpose of helping people on their path to better health across all its touchpoints:

  • Launched more than 50 HealthHUB® locations by the end of 2019, offering a variety of services to help improve health outcomes and transform the consumer health experience at the local level, including managing chronic conditions, supporting nutritional health and providing community wellness spaces.

  • MinuteClinic became the first retail healthcare organization to receive the Pathways to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

  • Expanded CarePass nationally, bringing simplified value to our customers while making it easier for them to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Healthy Businessfostering a business that creates value for CVS Health’s colleagues, shareholders, partners and supply chain:

  • Generated $5.6 billion in economic impact and created 35,000 jobs for minority and women-owned businesses through a best-in-class supplier diversity program.

  • Released Commitment to Responsible Marketing Practices, which demonstrates the company’s beliefs and aligns to its business strategy. The Commitment is brought to life through the CVS Beauty Mark, a watermark that signifies imagery advertising beauty and personal care products has not been digitally altered.

Healthy Communitydelivering significant social impact to support the health of communities across the U.S. and improve health outcomes in the communities CVS Health serves:

  • Helped address social determinants of health by delivering $6.4 million in free health care services to 70,000 participants through Project Health in 2019 and investing a total of $50 million in affordable housing.

  • Announced a new, three-year $10 million collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association to provide care and support services for patients, families and caregivers while advancing research toward prevention and a cure.

  • Continued to invest in building the first tobacco-free generation, with CVS Health and the CVS Health and Aetna Foundations awarding more than $16 million in grants to organizations that provide tobacco-free programming for youth, educators and clinicians.

Healthy Planetrecognizing that the health of the environment is inextricably linked to human health, CVS Health is committed to doing its part as a health care leader:

  • Earned a place on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) for the first time and named to DJSI North America for the seventh time, recognizing CVS Health’s sustainability leadership. The company was also recognized by the global environmental non-profit CDP, earning a place on the CDP A List and recognition as a CDP Supplier Engagement Leader.

  • Removed oxybenzone and octinoxate from all store brand sunscreens in advance of laws banning these chemicals in Hawaii and Key West, Fla.

  • Removed BPS from CVS Pharmacy customer receipts to increase their recyclability, while enrolling 1.1 million customers in digital receipts in 2019 for a savings of 48 million yards of receipt paper.

CVS Health’s 2019 CSR report was developed in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability Reporting Standards, a global framework widely used by organizations to report on CSR and sustainability performance, and is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report is available online at

About CVS Health

CVS Health employees are united around a common goal of becoming the most consumer-centric health company in the world. We’re evolving based on changing consumer needs and meeting people where they are, whether that’s in the community at one of our nearly 10,000 local touchpoints, in the home, or in the palm of their hand. Our newest offerings — from HealthHUB® locations that are redefining what a pharmacy can be, to innovative programs that help manage chronic conditions — are designed to create a higher-quality, simpler and more affordable experience. Learn more about how we’re transforming health at

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Erin Britt

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