The decision by CVS to stop selling cigarettes could help to cut smoking rates substantially, especially because the move comes at a time of increased pressure on the tobacco industry from a number of fronts, health experts say.
“It is a big deal — one of those death knell events the tobacco industry has feared for some time,” says Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society.
Research shows that making cigarettes even slightly less accessible has a measurable effect on smoking, especially for kids, who have fewer ways to get tobacco, says Otis Brawley, the Cancer Society’s chief medical officer.
“It’s an act of corporate courage,” says Brawley, who says the Cancer Society has pressured pharmacies to ban cigarettes for several years.
Studies show that being forced to travel just two extra blocks can deter someone from buying cigarettes, Brawley says. Brawley notes that retailers have known for decades about the importance of positioning products near cash registers, to increase “impulse” buys.
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