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Hats Off To CVS Pharmacies

If you smoke this is what you’re putting in your lungs (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)
Let me be clear, I’m not for the government telling us what vices in which we can partake. I was personally miffed when the federal government outlawed internet poker. On the other hand I think smoking bans in the workplace or frequently visited public places like restaurants are perfectly reasonable because you can’t expect people to quit going out to eat and smoking does affect the public health of non-smokers which has been proven in studies time and again. I’m not particularly sensitive to smokers arguments that the government makes them second class citizens… especially if I can’t enjoy a meal in the “non-smoking” section of a restaurant when the term is a joke. If I have to smell their smoke whenever I go out to eat then I become the second class citizen. If there is a smoking section in a slightly further off proximity that doesn’t equate to a smoke free environment and people should be able to eat out without having to inhale the smoke of others. Some will disagree but that’s my opinion.

While I’m for as little government intervention as possible measures such as a smoking ban in the workplace and in restaurants and bars, warning labels and radio and television self-policing to not take ads from tobacco companies has all had a positive impact on public health and a decrease in smoking. Since the U.S. Surgeon General warning labels were mandated in 1966 the percentage of American adults who smoke has been cut in more than half from 41% to just under 20% today.

Regular tobacco use leads to hypertension, lung cancer, COPD, heart attacks, stroke and several other problems. Unfortunately my own mother has COPD which will affect her for the rest of her life despite quitting 15 years ago. That’s why I think it’s so important when a company like CVS leads the way for private industries to help prevent this public scourge. In case you haven’t heard CVS pharmacies nationwide have decided to stop selling tobacco products in their stores. Full disclosure: I like to smoke an occasional cigar if I’m with my buddies in Las Vegas once or twice per year. However I think cigarettes are evil (as is any regular tobacco habit) and wouldn’t be disappointed if they disappeared from the face of the earth. I don’t think they should be made illegal but when a large retail business like CVS take a bold step like this I think it’s to be applauded and I just hope others follow suit. Montana is just about in line with the national average (19.5 percent of us smoke) but CVS will no longer have the death of smokers on their consciences and hopefully their gesture will chip away a little at that percentage and eventually put us in the bottom 10 state of percentage of Montanan’s who smoke.

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