WASHINGTON, DC— February 7, 2014 —The National Business Group on Health, an association of more than 375 large, U.S. employers, today applauded CVS Caremark on its February 5th announcement that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/ pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014. The Business Group called the CVS Caremark decision a significant development in the country's efforts to improve the health and well-being of all Americans.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade. Particularly worrying is the number of teenagers and young adults who are smoking, which could lead to a lifetime of harm.
"CVS and its leaders are to be commended for taking this bold and important step," said Helen Darling, President and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. "We also are very pleased to see that CVS plans to launch a national smoking cessation program, in addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale. The smoking cessation program comes at a time when employers all across the country are taking initiatives to help their employees quit smoking and get healthy."
Over the last few years, the National Business Group on Health has developed several tools and resources to assist large employers with their anti-smoking and smoking cessation efforts. An employer toolkit on tobacco use is available to all employers as is a website dedicated to tobacco and smoking.
"We have seen a growing number of employers increasing the resources they make available to workers who are trying to kick the habit. In fact, our surveys show that the vast majority of large employers currently offer smoking-cessation programs, and I would be surprised if all major companies didn't offer a program within the next few years. Not surprisingly, more companies are also offering workers programs that include financial rewards and penalties based on smoking habits. Employers recognize that helping workers stop smoking is not only good for the health of their employees, it's also good for bottom line," said Darling.
About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health is the nation's only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing practical solutions to its members' most important health care problems. The Business Group helps drive today's health agenda while promoting ideas for controlling health care costs, improving patient safety and quality of care and sharing best practices in health benefits management with senior benefits, HR professionals, and medical directors from leading corporations. Business Group members, which include 64 Fortune 100 companies, provide health coverage for more than 50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families. For more information, visit www.businessgrouphealth.org.
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SOURCE: National Business Group on Health