My Thoughts On Tobacco-Free Retailer Network
I’ve learned so much by participating in the Tobacco-Free Retailer Network. Since its launch, 754 new stores across the country have signed on to be a part of the Tobacco-Free Retailer Network. Most of these are privately owned and were already existing tobacco-free retailers who wanted to be sure they were on the map and part of the tobacco-free cause. However, a west coast chain, Raley’s Supermarkets announced that all 118 Raley’s stores will be phasing out tobacco products by the end of February 2015.
“As a corporation, Raley’s has been focusing on the lives of our customers as well as our colleagues, and so one of the decisions we made was that we would be phasing out and stop selling tobacco products. It goes along with the growing requirement for gluten free. We expanded that. We expanded our organics in our produce department.” said Paul Degnan, Raley’s Operation Team Leader.
I shop and get my prescriptions at CVS which has been a leader among retailers in supporting health and getting rid of tobacco products. I have so much respect for them as a corporation. I love to see corporations having strong principles. I suspect that more retailers like CVS and Raley’s will move in this direction over time. Perhaps it’s like the organic and gluten-free movement, as Paul Degnan mentioned. Retailers must respond to what their customers want to be successful in a free market economy.
As I wrote previously, I am a former smoker, and support the Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids because I understand just how much tobacco is costing families across the country, and around the world. Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills when used as intended costing 480,000 American lives annually. Can you imagine the outrage and response if that many people died in a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane, in airplane crashes or terrorist attacks each year?
What is worse is that tobacco companies spend $1 million per hour on marketing to the youth of our country. They want the next generation to be dependent on their products and provide revenue for their shareholders. I want the next generation to live a healthier, happier, more productive life, and don’t want them to be lured into this bad habit.
I urge my readers to join this important movement and support businesses like CVS which are standing up for our children and a healthier country. Use the links below to find out where you can shop tobacco-free. Together we can make an impact and bring about positive change!
THE HEALTH AND FINANCIAL COSTS OF TOBACCO IS STAGGERING:
1. Tobacco use kills 480,000 Americans every year – more than 1,300 people every day.
2. Tobacco use costs our country at least $289 billion a year in health care bills and lost
3. Smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and
4. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the human body and causes about one-third of
all deaths from cancer and heart disease, as well as 80 percent of deaths from chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (such as emphysema).
5. 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18.
6. 5.6 million children alive today will die prematurely from smoking unless current trends
7. Every day, more than 2,800 U.S. kids try their first cigarette – that’s more than one million
kids who take their first puff each year.
8. An estimated 375,000 retail stores sell tobacco products in the U.S. The widespread
availability of tobacco products sends a terrible message to kids that tobacco use is
normal, acceptable and appealing.
9. Tobacco companies spend over 90 percent of their annual $8.8 billion marketing budget
at the point-of-sale in stores, and this marketing has been shown to increase youth
tobacco use. By ending tobacco sales, retailers can help reduce kids’ exposure to harmful
10. Exposure to tobacco products and marketing in stores has been shown to encourage
youth use of tobacco products and undermine smokers’ attempts to quit by prompting impulse purchases.
FIND TOBACCO-FREE RETAILERS
ShopTobaccoFree.org is great and makes it super easy to find out if a retailer is tobacco-free. Just click on FIND and type in your zip code and a map comes up!
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Once you know who is joining the fight, you can go to the Wall of Shame / Fame to thank Tobacco-Free Retailers or ask stores to consider going tobacco-free. I hope you will resolve to make an effort to shop tobacco-free. If so, feel free to follow this campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr and be sure to use our #ShopTobaccoFree hashtag.
– Miss A
**This post is sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. **