Congrats to CVS pharmacy for taking a stand for HEALTH and announcing that they will completely quit selling tobacco products by October 1st of this year! While, yes, consumers can choose to walk across the street and head into another store to purchase their cigarettes, I am hopeful that other major pharmacies and grocery stores will consider this same step. As people have heard me say repeatedly, there is NO amount of tobacco that we believe to be actually GOOD for your health.
Every single day in the United States, there are over 1300 deaths attributed to smoking. How can you picture what that means in terms of human tragedy? Imagine two enormous jumbo jets colliding– which would mean approximately 1200 people dying…and think about how many times we would see that ghastly image on our computers and televisions. I want young people starting to smoke to have THAT image printed on their brains, rather than associating smoking with fun, alcohol and parties. Did you know that the vast majority of long-term smokers began the habit before the age of 21? I cannot tell you how many soccer moms my age, as well as professionals of all sorts, are still closet smokers- hating their addiction and wanting to quit. Many picked up “social smoking” in college fraternities and sororities, thinking it was no big deal…and that they would stop that habit after they graduated. Now it is ten or twenty years later, and they are hiding this addiction from their peers and especially their children. I believe it may be easier for people who smoke openly to quit, because at least they can enlist the support of their friends and family!
If you are still smoking, please talk to your family doctor about all the medical options to help you quit, and think about setting a quit date in 2014. Your habit didn’t form over night, and the average serious smoker takes 7 tries to quit for good. Nicotine replacement medications (gum, patch, nasal sprays, inhalers and lozenges) have been shown to increase your chance of successful smoking cessation by 50-70%. Other medications such as Chantix & Zyban double or triple the success rate as well.
BOTTOM LINE: Smoking doesn’t “just” cause lung cancer (and many other cancers), it causes heart attacks, strokes, and really crummy quality of life with chronic bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). If you still smoke, please make an appointment to talk to your family doctor about quitting. You CAN do it!