Welcomes news that chain will stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 U.S. stores
WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the announcement that CVS Caremark will stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide. In 1998, Harkin introduced the first comprehensive, bipartisan bill to give the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. Harkin was an original cosponsor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave FDA that authority in 2009 and banned candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes and misleading health claims such as "light" and "low-tar."
“Tobacco use is a major contributor to both chronic diseases and health care costs, and is responsible for killing nearly half a million Americans each year. I applaud CVS for putting Americans’ health ahead of its bottom line through its decision to remove tobacco products from its stores,” Harkin said. “This bold and admirable decision will complement federal efforts to save lives and reduce health care costs through continued implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the ongoing success of public awareness campaigns like CDC’s ‘Tips from a Former Smoker’ and FDA’s new ‘The Real Cost’ campaign, and no-cost access to smoking cessation therapies under the Affordable Care Act. I encourage other pharmacies to follow this model.”
Harkin has championed preventive healthcare initiatives throughout his career, including increased access to screenings for breast cancer and other diseases, the school fruit and vegetable pilot program, menu labeling in restaurants, and tobacco control. As HELP Committee Chairman, Harkin authored the prevention and wellness measures in the Affordable Care Act, including no-cost access to smoking cessation therapies and the creation of the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which supports the Tips From a Former Smoker campaign, as well as community-based tobacco cessation efforts across the country.