CVS Caremark Corp. took a bold step this month by announcing a plan to remove tobacco products from its stores. It is an obvious choice for public health and simultaneously a hard decision in the face of corporate profits. But with this initiative, CVS is ushering in a new dynamic that has the potential to transform the health of the nation.
Nurses who care for patients with cancer see firsthand the devastating effects of the disease and its treatment. Lung cancer is particularly cruel in the toll that it takes emotionally, physically and financially. It claims more lives each year than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined.
The CVS decision has the potential to improve these statistics. Avoiding tobacco and secondhand smoke is critical to preventing lung cancer. The Oncology Nursing Society, a professional association with 35,000 members committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing, transforming cancer care and improving quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families, applauds CVS for its stand and encourages other pharmacies and retailers to consider the same action. With many pharmacies now offering health care clinics that deliver top-notch care from trusted professionals such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, it is essential that the products on their shelves reflect their commitment to better health.
With a nationwide focus on better health care, prevention and early detection, and reducing costs, it is imperative that we take the first steps to better health. CVS has done just that. ONS and the nurses who care for patients with cancer thank CVS for putting their customers’ health first.
PAULA T. RIEGER Chief Executive Officer Oncology Nursing Society Findlay
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