Since announcing our decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in our CVS Pharmacy retail stores, we’ve received an outpouring of public support. Our colleagues nationwide spent months preparing for the day that we declared CVS Pharmacy tobacco-free. But helping people quit smoking goes well beyond simply removing product from our store shelves. It’s about engaging them in ways that only CVS Health is equipped to do.
“In quitting tobacco, we announced our plans to help the 18 percent of Americans who smoke,” said Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Health. “We know that 7 in 10 smokers want to quit, so we’ve built a comprehensive national smoking cessation program that will help them do so. ”
Based on research, we know that the most effective smoking cessation programs combine four critical components: an assessment of the smoker’s readiness to quit, medication support, coaching and education.
“The combination of medication and coaching is especially powerful,” says Nancy Gagliano, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for CVS MinuteClinic. “In fact, it can nearly double quit rates from 7 percent to 15 percent. That’s an important difference when you consider that the average smoker will try to quit anywhere between seven and nine times.”
And when smokers are trying to quit, we know that one size does not fit all.
“The path to becoming smoke free doesn’t start in the same place for everyone. That’s why our program is designed to offer the ‘interested quitter’ many ways to interact with our services,” says Helena Foulkes, President of CVS Pharmacy. “Our integrated business model, that includes CVS Pharmacy, CVS Caremark, CVS MinuteClinic and CVS Specialty, allows us to reinforce important resources at every venue and touch point.”
For example, patients in our stores have access to cessation-related materials, as well as face-to-face clinical expertise from our nurse practitioners and pharmacists. We’re supplementing those options with digital resources, and a 1-800 number to connect people who want to quit to services in local communities. Our Pharmacy Benefit Management clients can utilize those resources as well. Clients may also arrange for onsite services at their locations where their employees meet with nurse practitioners and pharmacists at worksite events, such as benefits fairs.