Doctors are tough critics — as well they should be. Today the news that CVS Caremark pharmacies will no longer sell tobacco brought about quite a bit of rapid online dialogue. Even President Obama chimed-in with praise, a response that some in the business world say is worth billions for CVS. Having a good reputation, particularly when you’re in the business of delivering health care and lending health advice, seems essential. In my mind we should praise and celebrate what today brings — leadership for making it harder to get addicted to tobacco products we know seriously harm health.
But not all doctors may think a move to ban the sale of tobacco in a health care environment is enough. Dr Sunny Chan, a family doctor in Canada, asked the tough question about our health care providers (HCP) working environment:
— Sunny Chan (@waisunchan) February 5, 2014
Meanwhile, Texas pediatrician Dr Bryan Vartabedian wrote a blog post this morning asking CVS to take a bigger step by banning sales of unhealthy sugar-sweetened beverages (that we know are associated with obesity) and junk food. He wrote,
You can’t make money peddling savory snacks while at once setting the pace for a healthy lifestyle. And condemning one vice works for the press release, but not as a brand offering health solutions.
When focusing singularly on CVS’ decision to stop selling tobacco products, it’s easy to say the choice is a phenomenal one. Not promoting (or profiting) from the sale of carcinogens is always in the best interest of our communities and our long-term health. I return to what Centers For Disease Control’s Director, Dr Thomas Friedman, recently wrote in JAMA , “Tobacco is, quite simply, in a league of its own in terms of the sheer numbers and varieties of ways it kills and maims people.” Read full post »