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Bravo, CVS, for Banning Tobacco Products

OPINION

I am a cigarette scold.

Ask my smoking friends, or the ones who are still around. I get in their face, demanding to know why they want to kill themselves and bring grief to their families. I've even been known to do it to strangers.

Part of the reason is personal. I've lost eleven tobacco-addicted friends to lung cancer, most recently a Montana ranch woman who could survive a terrible horse riding accident, long bitter winters and hard, hard work -- but not cigarettes

The other motivation is the high cost of American health care. Most national health experts say if you want to have an immediate impact on the high cost of health, outlaw cigarettes and reduce the cancer, emphysema, heart attacks and second hand smoke consequences they bring with them.

So I was thrilled to see that CVS -- the giant pharmacy chain -- announce it was going out of the cigarette business even though it meant a two billion dollar loss in sales. Two billion, with a "b."

CVS is more and more in the health care business -- providing vaccinations, clinics and the like -- and selling cigarettes was not just inappropriate, but not good for the growing health care piece of their business plan.

Smokers will say they have a right to make their own decisions. We heard those same arguments about drinking and driving and about resisting seat belts. Think of how many lives and dollars the two changes in driving have saved.

I grew up in the smoking Fifties and couldn't wait to graduate from high school sports to Lucky Strikes or whatever brand tobacco companies would distribute free to incoming freshmen classes.

What madness.

So thank you, CVS for putting health, a national security issue, over profit.

You didn't lose my cigarette business because I haven't smoked in 45 years. But you did gain my admiration -- and I now know where I'll buy my toothpaste, razors, shampoo, cold tablets, cough drops, sunscreen and vitamin pills.

There really is no such thing as a smoke free envionment unless we ban the source.

Image: A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray.
Image: A man taps ashes off his cigarette into an ashtray.SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC / Reuters file