CVS Continues Campaign Against Smoking

Created: 02/05/2014 6:53 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 News) -- National drugstore chain, CVS Pharmacy, is phasing out all tobacco products in all of its 7,600 stores. It's a move that one local pharmacy made years ago.

At Hunt's Pharmacy in Rochester, you can find all kinds of health products, greeting cards, and even a dancing frog. But one thing you won't find on the shelves; tobacco products, and its been that way for 25 years.

"Tobacco products are not a healthy portion, or not a healthy lifestyle and we've  chosen that many years ago to focus more on health, rather than sales," said Hunt's Pharmacy manager David Kohler.

And now, CVS Pharmacy has announced its stores will begin phasing out tobacco products this year. It seems to be part of a bigger, national push to get people to quit smoking.

The FDA is now triggering teenagers in its anti-smoking ads. It's something high school health teachers, like Michele VanBibber in Stewartville, have been teaching for years.

"I think media has such an influence on kids and its one of the things that they look to all the time and so I think if they're starting this kind of advertising in a way that kind of, doesn't promote this young tobacco smoking. I think it's great, and I think it's something that they'd listen to," said VanBibber.

The reason for the new ads? Experts say 90 percent of adult smokers had their first cigarette before they turned 18. And while the new ads show some graphic images, Michele says; that might be needed.

"We talk about that a lot in class, would the number of people who smoked be different if our advertising just alone on the packages was something different? And the kids thought, hmm maybe so. So I think this is a good step and a good start for them to see that," said VanBibber.

And while those ads target teens, back at Hunt's Pharmacy, the hope is that other stores will continue to follow suit, and take tobacco off the shelves, and out of the hands, of everyone.

"I think you will see more of that. As pressure mounts on some of the other major chains, I think you'll see a swing, hopefully in that direction," said Kohler.

The push to curb cigarette smoking isn't just a national one. Rochester Democrat Tina Liebling introduced a bill last week that would ban foster parents from smoking in their homes, in Minnesota.