Here’s how their bold decision has impacted public health.
After CVS Pharmacy announced that they were eliminating cigarettes and all tobacco products from their stores in 2014, people were struck by the bold move. Could this decision really help people quit smoking?
The stats don’t lie: A recent study published by CVS’ Health Research Institute in the American Journal of Public Health found that cutting nicotine from the shelves has had a positive impact on smokers, especially those who purchased their cigarettes at CVS stores.
After analyzing the buying behavior of nearly 9,000 households at major drug, food, big box, dollar, convenience, and gas station retailers one year before and after the decision, CVS researchers found that people who purchased their cigarettes exclusively at CVS Pharmacy were 38 percent more likely to stop buying cigarettes. Those who bought three or more packs per month were more than twice as likely to stop buying cigarettes completely.
What’s more, when CVS studied purchasing behavior at the population level in 13 states, they found that consumers purchased 95 million fewer packs of cigarettes during the 8 months following the decision.
That’s about 5 fewer packs per smoker, the study authors say.
“When we removed tobacco from our shelves, a significant number of our customers simply stopped buying, and hopefully smoking, cigarettes altogether instead of just altering their cigarette purchasing habits,” Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., chief medical officer of CVS Health and an author of the study, said in a statement.
“This research proves that our decision had a powerful public health impact by disrupting access to cigarettes and helping more of our customers on their path to better health.”
Now, CVS is committing their efforts to tobacco use prevention. Cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans every year, making it the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Not buying the stuff is only the first step, though.
Once your nicotine cravings start to hit, check out the best method to quit smoking if you want to nix the habit once and for all.