CVS Health partnered with other anti-tobacco organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, the American Cancer Society, and the National Urban League and contributed $50 million to launch the “Be the First” campaign. This campaign is aimed towards young people as 9 out of 10 smokers pick up their first cigarette before they turn 18. Be the First has reached over 5 million kids and has helped 20 college campuses become completely tobacco-free. CVS has announced that they will be giving another $10 million to Be the First to keep up momentum for its second year.
3 years ago, CVS decided to remove all tobacco products from their shelves and replace them with other products to help people quit tobacco. They decided to forgo the potential sales loss of $2 billion for the sake of standing behind their mission to help people on their path to better health. This spring, CVS Health will be working with the infamous Truth Initiative to partner with community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to implement tobacco-free campus policies.
Competing pharmacies are feeling the pressure from anti-tobacco advocates to follow CVS’s example. Wallgreens, Rite Aid, WalMart…are you watching?