National Organization Takes Aim At Retailers To End Tobacco Sales

National Organization Takes Aim At Retailers To End Tobacco Sales

10:10am Oct 18, 2014
Tobacco-Free Kids launched its new campaign targeting retailers and shoppers on Oct. 20, 2014.
photo by: Kari Söderholm (via flickr)

A national campaign is calling on retailers to end tobacco sales. The move comes in the wake of CVS Pharmacy’s historic decision last month to stop selling tobacco products.

The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids wants other retailers to join CVS and take tobacco products off their shelves. They’re also mobilizing consumers to support stores that don’t sell tobacco products.

Vince Willmore is vice president of communications for the organization. He says an emphasis will be on prevention strategies for youth.

“It really sends a terrible message to kids, encouraging them to use these products and it makes it harder for smokers to quit when they walk in a store and they are tempted to buy a pack of cigarettes," says Willmore. "We would like to see retail stores become part of the solution by taking tobacco products off of their shelves.”

The campaign includes a new web site and interactive map where visitors can find tobacco-free retailers in their communities. There’s also a social media movement and store window stickers for tobacco-free businesses.    

There are an estimated 375,000 retailers that sell tobacco products in the U.S.

David Howard, a spokesman with Reynolds American, says retailers are free to decide whether or not to sell tobacco. “Well that is certainly a business decision made by those companies and they evaluated what is best for their business strategies moving forward and we respect their decisions,” says Howard.

According to Tobacco-Free Kids, tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing 480,000 people and costing the nation at least $289 billion in health care bills and other economic losses each year.

Follow Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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