For the past 30 years, I've been fighting for lung health with the American Lung Association. Our organization has been a leader in the battle against tobacco. We've worked tirelessly alongside other advocacy groups to advance a cause that we know saves lives. Throughout my tenure, I've shared in disappointments when stronger tobacco laws to protect people have not been passed. And I've been lucky enough to be a part of major milestones that have advanced our country toward creating a healthier, smokefree environment.
This, I'm proud to say, is a great moment in the fight against tobacco.
With CVS Caremark's announcement yesterday that they will no longer sell tobacco products, including cigarettes, at all CVS/pharmacy locations, the company took a bold step. They have decided to prioritize the health and well-being of current and future customers and employees. We at the American Lung Association commend company leaders for this decision and we urge more retailers to join in efforts to help reduce access to tobacco and tobacco use, and eliminate tobacco-caused deaths and disease.
Reducing access to tobacco is an important first step in the continued de-normalization of cigarette smoking and tobacco use in the country. We also need to support those who are actively trying to quit. There are approximately 43 million American smokers -- of those, 70 percent or 30 million want to quit.
Comprehensive cessation programs like the Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking, coupled with a decision like CVS' can help us move toward a generation that will not be defined by smoking-related illnesses like lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Your voice is important in this conversation! I encourage you to pledge to help the American Lung Association end the tobacco epidemic by:
• Preventing kids from starting to smoke
• Helping smokers quit
• Protecting everyone from the dangers of secondhand smoke
And I hope you will join the social conversation and share this news with friends and family via Twitter and Facebook.
Individually we each play an important role in ending this toxic threat. Together, we can work toward creating this nation's first tobacco-free generation. We have an opportunity to improve public health today and we hope you choose to join us as we work to make tobacco history.