Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 6, 2014

CVS tobacco decision gives hope

April Barbe
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Just as I was starting to think money ruled the world and everything in it, a national giant makes a move that will cost them $2 billion in annual revenue.

On Wednesday, CVS Caremark, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain, said it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1 from

its stores.

Speaking as someone who has watched family members die from smoking, and someone who continues to fight with loved ones over the use of these harmful substances ... thank you, CVS.

I hope this company will begin a revolution against tobacco use. I hope other businesses will see that there is something more important than money –

human life.

Yes, I understand that this is an addiction that many struggle with on a daily basis. I understand that it can be a crutch, a comfort to ease one's nerves. I know we all have our bad habits, and mine are no exception.

I would love if grocery stores stopped selling things like candy and cookies. Seriously, it would help my health tremendously.

I know if someone wants these types of products, they will just go to another store. But the more places who join the bandwagon against it, the more chance that a person using the product will realize that it's bad for them and possibly choose a healthier alternative.

Tobacco products should not be offered on every corner. People are being allowed to poison themselves without giving it a second thought.

Companies today seem to almost take advantage of the addiction … collecting more and more revenue from those who can't help themselves.

Most people these days know the health results of using tobacco products. Yet, no matter how expensive the products become, the items keep rolling off the shelves.

I'm glad one of these companies has decided to put their foot down – finally.

Cancer is not a pretty thing to watch someone you love deal with. I remember the last time I saw one of my uncles. I was a teenager. He looked like a skeleton with his skin stretched tightly over his bones … and guess what? He still smoked. He couldn't stop.

I remember him talking about how it was too late at that point, so he might as well keep doing it.

I've seen family members go without food in order to buy cigarettes. I've seen them upset family gatherings because they were out of cigarettes and were having what we call a "nicotine fit." Some people I know sit and smoke all

day long.

Most people I know have done it since their youth; however, my brother began smoking a few years ago ... in his 50s! He said he was bored!

OK, so if you get bored, you are supposed to do something harmful to yourself? Seriously?

My sister and I continue to discourage him every chance we get. I'm not sure it's working, though. Plus, since he formerly used tobacco and snuff, our chances, sadly, are slim for turning him around.

I've lost the uncle previously mentioned, along with two aunts, a great-uncle and a former brother-in-law to the side effects of tobacco products use. My mother's first husband also died because of smoking, as well as others in our family I'm sure I'm leaving out. A former friend also lost a portion of his tongue with mouth cancer.

I fight regularly with my dad, who now has a breathing machine. He has blamed his most recent needed health item on everything but smoking … something he has done most of his life.

He has tried to stop a few times, but it never lasts for long. I refuse to buy him cigarettes, and this has caused disruptions to many visits. I'm literally watching my Dad kill himself with tobacco products.

So, anything done to discourage the use of these horrible products is good in my eyes.

Let's hope other companies will see the longterm benefits a decision like this could have.

April Barbe is the editor of the Daily Progress. She has also worked for the Nacogdoches and Longview newspapers.