COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One of the biggest pharmacies in the United States announced that the company would stop selling cigarettes by October 2014.
According to the Associated Press, CVS is making a big move to promote good health. The company said selling tobacco products next to their other health care items contradicted their message about being a good health care provider.
Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease. More than 480,000 Americans die every year as a result of smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Joy Thomas, an associate professor of health education and science at Columbus State University, explained that CVS's move portrayed as a strong, positive message for smokers to quit.
"I commend CVS as a corporation to eliminate tobaccos from their sales," Dr. Thomas said. "With policy changes like CVS, it creates an atmosphere that says tobacco free lifestyles are okay and encouraged. It creates a social norm that tobacco use does not have to be something we have to be doing."
Dr. Thomas explained that these messages are important. Banning cigarettes and smoking in work places and restaurants helped decrease number of smokers in America for the last 10 years.
With CVS banning sales of tobacco products, other pharmacies are being encouraged to ban their sales as well.
Keith Gossett, the owner of Buckey's Bargain Vaping on Warm Springs Road, only sells electronic cigarettes. The shop opened October 2013, and Gossett explained he fell in love with e-cigarettes since it helped Gossett quit dipping.
"I used to dip three cans of tobacco everyday," Gossett explained. "However, once I started smoking electronic cigarettes, I broke out of the habit. Slowly but surely, I stopped dipping for good."
Gossett explained that electronic cigarettes are affordable, and they can be a better alternative.
"I do not believe electronic cigarettes are healthy since they do contain nicotine," Gossett said. "But I make my own vapors, and I know what goes into them. However, not everyone knows what goes into cigarettes. Thousands of unhealthy ingredients create cigarettes."
Dr. Thomas said people still need to try to quit smoking tobacco and nicotine products altogether.
"E-cigarettes are not as healthy or safe," Dr. Thomas said. "We still do not know the harm in a long run. We do know that electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine, and smoking is bad for you overall."
Dr. Thomas explained that smokers need to quit smoking all together, no matter how long it might take.
"We know it takes more than seven times for an average smoker to stop smoking," Dr. Thomas said. "So every quit attempt is one step closer to being able to finally quit the habit for good. It might be a long journey but do not give up for your loved ones."
Call the hotline 1-800-784-8669 (quit-now), if you want professional help to quit smoking. You will be connected with a local representative that can help you through the process.