A major pharmaceutical retailer in the U.S. is taking a major step to help Americans in the process of aging well. The retail giant, CVS Caremark, has decided that as of October 2014, they’re going to be discontinuing the sale of tobacco products in their 7,600 pharmacy stores throughout the country. This company also operates over 800 medical outpatient clinics across the country.
According to a new published report written by the chief medical officer who represents CVS Caremark, smoking isn’t only affecting efforts in aging well, but it causes an estimated 480,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. There are also the costs of medical care associated with smoking, which are estimated to be approximately $132 billion, and the economic burden from lost productivity, which cost $157 billion on an annual basis.
The American Pharmacists Association is also diving into this new policy and its effects on aging well, with their president stating, “To improve the health of all Americans, pharmacy professionals must step up and join the many pharmacies before them who have removed tobacco products from their shelves.” Interestingly, the U.S. is the only developed country that currently allows the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.
Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, called the decision “an important step forward in reducing access to these deadly products” and she, along with the president of the American College of Cardiology, applauded the company for putting Americans’ health and wellness before profit.
This is a big step forward in helping Americans’ efforts in aging well, since tobacco use continues to be the biggest preventable cause of various diseases, disability, and even death in the U.S.
The Link Between Smoking and Aging Well
For those of you who are interested in aging well and living a disease-free life, consuming tobacco products should be out of the question. Not only is smoking directly linked to the development of many different types of cancers, it causes chronic lung disease, which is one of the leading causes of death in North America.
Smoking also affects aging well because it’s the most common preventable cause of vascular diseases affecting the heart, brain, and lower limbs. Although people most often think of smoking as a cause of lung cancer, it causes more cases of heart disease than all the cancer cases attributed to smoking combined.
Another way smoking impacts aging well is that it causes irreversible damage to the facial skin, as well as to the mucous membranes of the mouth, larynx, and gingival tissue. That means prematurely aged skin, poor oral hygiene, rotting teeth, and a gravelly voice—none of these reflect characteristics of someone who’s aging well.
What about the effects of second-hand smoke on aging well? It’s a well-known fact that passive smoke damages people who are innocently subjected to it. If you consider the damage inflicted on people by air pollution, this is very similar to the effects passive smoke has upon humans and their ability to continue aging well over the years.
Another sobering fact is that although the prevalence of smoking in the U.S. has dropped over the last 50 years, the most vulnerable demographic is still teenagers. They’re the most susceptible because, once they get addicted, they often become a potential customer for the next 30 to 40 years.
Still a smoker? Click here to learn more about why you need to quit if you ever plan on aging well and living a longer, healthier life.
Brennan, T.A., et al., “Ending Sales of Tobacco Products in Pharmacies,” The Journal of the American Medical Association web site, February 5, 2014; https://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1828530.
Brown, T., “Medical Community Applauds CVS’ Plan to Halt Tobacco Sales,” Medscape web site, February 16, 2014; http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/820262.