Today, after Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark pharmacies announced it will phase out sales of tobacco products in all U.S. retail stores by October 1, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) issued the following statement:
"I commend CVS Caremark for voluntarily taking tobacco products off their shelves. CVS is a trusted brand that focuses on health and wellness and they reached this decision on their own because they understand that tobacco use and public health don't mix. Our nation has come a long way in reducing smoking, but it is still a major public health problem and an economic problem that costs Americans billions of dollars each year in health care costs. Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked on initiatives to educate young people about the dangers of smoking, supported measures to ban smoking in schools, and worked to enhance the FDA's ability to regulate the sale and distribution of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. These are important laws, but we also need partners in the business community, like CVS, to help us reduce tobacco use and improve public health. I hope others are encouraged by CVS' leadership to take similar steps."
Senator Reed was an original cosponsor of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law in 2009 and incorporated provisions he championed to keep the tobacco industry from targeting children as new customers. This law provides the FDA with the explicit authority to protect the public from deceptive cigarette advertisements, prevent the targeting of minors, and remove certain harmful ingredients from cigarettes.