This past week there was quite a buzz in the media about the announcement CVS Caremark made regarding its decision to discontinue all tobacco sales by October 1. News media sources across the board were jumping on this story to highlight the fact that a major pharmaceutical retailer was cutting off the tobacco industry from further business.
Does this indicate a growing attitude shift in the country when it comes to cigarette smoking and other forms of tobacco use, or is it just an inflated news story? Well according to the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is some data to show that the general attitude toward cigarette smoking and tobacco use is becoming less favorable.
According to the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the CDC, reported tobacco smoking has decreased from 42.4% to just 12% among adults from 1965-2011. Among high school students, that number has decreased from 27.5% to 16% according to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which was conducted from 1991-2011.
What could be the contributing factor to this reported decline in smoking and tobacco use? Is it related to the numerous campaigns that have been aimed against cigarette use, such as the recent one that the FDA launched to target teen smoking? How about the CDC video of Terrie Hall, a former smoker who developed throat cancer and, in a graphic video, shared some advice about smoking?
Many of these advertisements have been called scare tactics and deemed ineffective, but according to the statistics they are contributing to the growing shift away from tobacco use. Behind these video clips there are real people and real facts. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 443,000 smoking related deaths per year. Many of these deaths are cancer related and of these cancer cases the lead killer is lung cancer. The facts incriminate smoking as a major cause of death, and yet the tobacco industry continues to enjoy major profits each year -- approximately $35 billion in 2010 in the US, and $346 billion for the 6 major companies worldwide.
Tobacco has been a part of American history for some time, but it seems that the tide is turning against smoking and tobacco use. Even though change is happening slowly, increased regulation and education are making smoking less cool and more exposed. With companies like CVS taking tobacco off their shelves, letís hope we start to see a downward trend in cancer related deaths over the next several decades as well.
What is your reaction to CVSís announcement? Do you think further regulation of the tobacco industry will make any difference on smoking in the next generation?