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CVS Health Quits Chamber of Commerce

Posted, by Deborah Merkin
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Recently, in a bold move, CVS Health quits Chamber of Commerce. The decision to quit came after revelations that the chamber is undertaking a global lobbying campaign against antismoking laws. Last year, CVS Health declared their mission to increase public health by discontinuing tobacco sales chain wide.

CVS Health Quits Chamber of Commerce“We were surprised to read recent press reports concerning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on tobacco products outside the United States,” David R. Palombi, a senior vice president at the company, said in a statement. “CVS Health’s purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose.”

The chamber and its vast network of foreign affiliates are targeting restrictions on smoking in public spaces, bans on menthol and slim cigarettes, advertising restrictions, plain packaging, and graphic warning labels.  These efforts by the chamber have also put them in direct opposition to the World Health Organization's efforts to curb tobacco use around the world. There are 4 major health companies currently on the chamber's board that also support antismoking programs. Anthemthe Health Care Service Corporation, the Steward Health Care System of Boston, and the Indiana University Health system. So far CVS Health is the only one to quit the Chamber of Commerce. The chamber has defended its global efforts, saying it is safeguarding its members' business interests. “It’s unfortunate that a concerted misinformation campaign about the U.S. Chamber’s position on smoking has resulted in a company leaving our organization,” the chamber said in a statement. “To be clear, the chamber does not support smoking and wants people to quit,” the statement said. “At the same time, we support protecting the intellectual property and trademarks of all legal products in all industries and oppose singling out certain industries for discriminatory treatment.” Many people are speaking out about the chamber's tobacco lobbying decision.  Seven Senate Democrats, including Richard BlumenthalAl Franken, and Elizabeth Warren, called the chamber "craven and unconscionable" adding that "member companies should be concerned that their good name is sullied in efforts to strike down public health protections worldwide." CVS health quitting the chamber of commerce is just another move in their latest step in rebranding itself as a health care destination. CVS Health executives have said that selling cigarettes is just not consistent with its new strategy. Read more about CVS Health's bold stance in the recent The New York Times article here.

Topics: CVS/pharmacy, Retailers & Merchants

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