Thank you CVS for putting public health ahead of big tobacco interests

CVS Health Corp. made an emphatic statement this week. They broke rank to stand on principle over corporate interests.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is entrenched in a global campaign to stop or roll back anti-tobacco laws around the world (particularly through multi-lateral trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership). As the tobacco market wains in the U.S. and other developed countries, big tobacco has been aggressively marketing their products in developing countries where regulations are weaker and populations (read: customer base) are expanding.

Instead of aligning itself with this anti-tobacco movement, CVS quit the chamber this week.

Momentum for this type of move has built over the past year or so. In 2014, CVS announced it will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores in the U.S. by October 1, 2014. They called it, “the right thing to do.”

This week, CVS once again took the stand of principle over profit. A CVS senior vice president commented on the company’s decision to leave the chamber because of its position on global anti-tobacco laws by saying,

“CVS Health’s purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose.”

And for that, I say thank you CVS! Thank you for putting public health ahead of profit and corporate interests.

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