New Campaign Seeks to Curtail Tobacco Use on HBCU Campuses

In 2014, CVS Pharmacy stores stopped selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores. This courageous decision impacted the bottom line with millions of dollars in lost revenue. At the time the president of CVS said, “it is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company. The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”

Now the CVS Health Foundation has joined forces with the anti-tobacco organization the Truth Initiative to help make the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities tobacco-free. According to the foundation, less than half of the nation’s HBCUs have smoke-free or tobacco-free policies. Since 2015, 10 additional HBCUs have established such policies.

Robin Koval, CEO and president of the Truth Initiative, stated that “our partnership aims to counteract the decades of profiling of African Americans and low-income communities by Big Tobacco. We are thrilled to be working to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past on HBCU campuses.”

The initiative is part of a five-year, $50 million campaign by the CVS Health Foundation to reduce and elimination cigarette smoking and other harmful tobacco practices. David Casey, chief diversity officer at CVS Health, said “helping more colleges and universities go tobacco-free is an important step in achieving our goal of helping to deliver the first tobacco-free generation.”

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