OAKLAND, Calif. (Feb. 5, 2014) — Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL) commended CVS Caremark on Wednesday for prioritizing public health with its decision to remove all tobacco products from its 7,600 stores by Oct. 1, 2014.
CVS, the second-largest drugstore chain in the United States, is the first national pharmacy to pull tobacco products off its shelves because of health concerns.
“CVS has courageously set the standard that all retailers should now follow,” said APPEAL Executive Director Rod Lew. “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease. CVS’s landmark decision sends a strong message to pharmacies, and all retailers, that sell tobacco products: They play a direct role in enabling a deadly habit.”
A Surgeon General report released in January found that over the last 50 years, more than 20 million Americans have died from smoking. The report determined cigarette smoking kills nearly half a million Americans a year, with an additional 16 million individuals suffering from smoking-related conditions. In addition, approximately 5.6 million American children alive today will die prematurely from smoking-related diseases unless current smoking rates fall, according to the report.
The Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA & NHPI) community is directly impacted by tobacco use. Korean American men, as well as those of Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao descent, and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, have some of the highest tobacco use rates in the country.
“It is harder for Asian Americans, the majority of whom are foreign-born, to avoid tobacco addiction because of the prevalence of smoking in Asia as well as tactics by tobacco companies who proactively market their deadly products in both the U.S. and Asia,’’ Lew added. “Other pharmacies should follow in the footsteps of CVS. We urge all retailers to put health first by banning tobacco products from their shelves.”
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL), founded in 1994, is a national organization working toward social justice and a tobacco-free Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. To learn more about APPEAL, please visit www.appealforcommunities.org.