02/14/2014 05:34 pm ET Updated Apr 13, 2014

Leadership Requires Boldness

Last week the leadership of CVS Corporation announced that they will no longer sell cigarettes or tobacco-like products from any of their 7,600 retail locations in the United States. As health care leaders, we find ourselves mired in discussions about the business of care. On Wednesday, we saw a company who boldly demonstrated to all of us that embracing health as a business strategy is how can we begin to truly drive change in our communities.

We know lung cancer takes more lives today than breast, prostate and colon cancer combined. As an organization founded and dedicated to the care of cancer patients and their families, we see first-hand the devastating effects of these products. Each year more than 150,000 families lose a loved one to lung cancer, with 80 to 90 percent of those cases attributable to tobacco products. We also recognize that it isn't enough to treat cancer and we need to find new ways to engage in a productive dialogue around prevention.

On behalf of the more than 4,600 employees of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, we thank Larry Merlo and his team for taking this bold step forward and showing us what tomorrow can look like when we focus on protecting and improving the health of our communities today.