Why CVS Ending Tobacco Sales Promotes Abuse Prevention
CVS recently announced it would take an important step to prevent disease by ending their sale of tobacco products. They are to be commended for their action as they will likely lose money in the short term, but save many lives. We wish to promote efforts to improve health through prevention. Significantly, the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) studies demonstrate that exposure of domestic violence and child abuse results in a significant increase in use of harmful substances including tobacco and this of course leads to illness and death.
The ACE research (Adverse Childhood Experience) contains frightening information that exposure to domestic violence, child abuse and other traumas leads directly to significantly more illnesses and injuries not only for children but also later in life as adults and results in shorter lives. At the same time, the research offers an unusual opportunity for society to dramatically improve its health and in doing so save large sums of money we would all share as health care costs and crime are reduced. Domestic violence and child abuse are not inevitable. We know how to drastically reduce these forms of abuse and the ACE research provides a strong incentive to do so.
In 1964, the Surgeon General released a groundbreaking study linking smoking and cancer. The tobacco companies aggressively challenged the findings, but their lies were soon exposed. This research led to campaigns and information designed to discourage smoking. This led to a substantial reduction in smoking which in turn led to a reduction in cancer, heart disease, deaths and health costs. Today the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association would not dream of doing their work without a component to discourage smoking and support laws and government actions designed to prevent smoking particularly by children.
We believe the findings in the ACE study make it similarly important for charitable organizations working to prevent a wide variety of the scourges of society to include efforts to prevent domestic violence and child abuse as part of their work. Significantly, the ten leading causes of death in this country are impacted by the traumas described in the ACE research. We will soon launch a campaign to encourage organizations working to prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Aids, eating disorders, auto-immune diseases, suicide, mental illness, substance abuse and so many other societal problems to include the prevention of domestic violence and child abuse in their work.
I am tremendously excited about what the ACE research can mean in this country and around the world. Ultimately, the actions by CVS will benefit them and the public because the reduction of illness will reduce health care costs,insurance premiums and taxes while improving the economy. CVS should receive substantial credit and approval from the public for its actions. The enormous potential savings from preventing domestic violence and child abuse should demonstrate it is no longer a private matter. This is a tremendous opportunity for the business community to do well by doing good. They can support campaigns to end domestic violence and child abuse. In doing so they will improve their standing in the community and share in the huge savings that will be created by reducing these traumas. And best of all, women and children can be safe in their homes.