CLEVELAND, OH--(Marketwired - Feb 7, 2014) - CVS Caremark announced on Wednesday its decision to stop selling cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products by October 1. The company estimates that it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the sale of tobacco products, but recognizes this step is necessary to help people on the path to better heath.
"We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking," said Larry J. Merlo, chief executive of CVS. "We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don't go together in the same setting."
Bravo Wellness, the leader in wellness incentive programs for organizations, applauds CVS's decision. "In a time where 75% of healthcare costs are derived from chronic diseases that can be prevented with lifestyle changes, CVS is helping to make a strong statement that the time for fundamental change is now," said Jim Pshock, president and CEO of Bravo Wellness. "For CVS to take such a visible stance to further mitigate this public health issue is laudable. It's the first step of many that we can all take to positively change the outcome of America's health."
CVS' decision comes a day after the World Health Organization released its World Cancer Report. In this report, it is revealed that new cancer cases will rise from an estimated 14 million annually in 2012, to 22 million within two decades. The report said about half of all cancers were preventable and could have been avoided if current medical knowledge was utilized. It also states that diseases could be prevented by addressing lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and exercise. It adds that cutting smoking rates would have a significant impact, as lung cancer remained the most commonly diagnosed cancer (1.8 million cases a year) and the deadliest, accounting for about one-fifth of all cancer deaths worldwide.
"Sometimes you just need encouragement or an incentive to take the first step towards good health," said Pshock. "Bravo has experienced the benefits and seen the results of implementing such policies first-hand. By simply removing the temptation to purchase tobacco products and presenting smoking cessation options, CVS is supporting that position and helping people to live healthier lives. It would be great if this is just the beginning of a new movement in America to get healthy."
About Bravo Wellness -- Bravo Wellness is the thought leader in wellness incentive programs. We offer consultative and administrative services to organizations looking to mitigate the rising cost of healthcare and minimize potential legal risks. Utilizing our proprietary platform, and incorporating industry best practice standards, we deliver customized solutions that engage employees and foster personal accountability, rewarding results and progress. From health improvement strategies to biometric screenings and incentives, Bravo provides a flexible solution bringing best-in-class providers to the table to develop and implement a comprehensive, compliant program. Bravo Wellness and its subsidiary, IncentiSoft Solutions, are headquartered in Cleveland, OH. For more information, visit www.bravowell.com.