Quitting Tobacco for Your Sake

As a healthcare professional, I’m always in favor of any effort to promote smart life choices. When a $120-billion company gets involved, I’m thrilled.

Last week, CVS announced that it had officially pulled all tobacco products from its store shelves. The announcement also coincided with an important name change – CVS/Caremark Corp. is now CVS Health. According to a video on the company’s website, CVS is hoping to demonstrate a renewed commitment to health in America.

The path to this historic move began in February, when the company shocked both Wall Street analysts and the healthcare community by announcing its intent to remove tobacco from its stores by October. The company is running the tagline, “This is the right thing to do.” It’s simple, powerful and compelling.

While initially unsure of how to interpret the company’s decision, many analysts now view CVS Health as a hugely promising brand initiative. Its success will depend on whether or not the company can commit to its new identity and reposition its business operations. It’s hard to predict what will happen in the coming months, but removing tobacco from its store shelves a month early is certainly an encouraging sign.

In a wider context, I think the CVS decision marks an ongoing shift in health consciousness in America. I think it also reflects evolving attitudes toward smoking in the 21st century. It will be interesting to see how CVS’s decision affects competitors such as Walgreens and Rite Aid. Hopefully, the CVS rebranding will place pressure on these major drugstore chains to make similar long-term business decisions. At the very least, it should open an internal dialogue. And that brings us one step closer to promoting smart life choices.

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