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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

CVS Funds Smoking Cessation Program for Veterans, Others

Published May 28, 2015 9:15 AM by ADVANCE for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine

Easter Seals is marking World No Tobacco Day on May 31, by launching a national smoking cessation program to help veterans, people with disabilities and caregivers live healthier, tobacco-free lives.

Funding for the new program is supported by a $400,000 grant from the CVS Health Foundation. CVS stopped selling cigarettes in its stores nationwide on October 1 last year. 

The cessation program highlights the American Lung Association's online program called Freedom From Smoking (, which takes participants through modules containing tips and lessons on how to quit smoking. The resulting collaboration between Easter Seals and the ALA will help reach new audiences and empower the individuals they serve quit smoking for good.   

"As we mark World No-Tobacco Day, we are proud to partner with Easter Seals, America's largest health charity, to launch this valuable program to help people quit smoking," said Eileen Howard Boone, President, CVS Health Foundation.  "Our company's purpose is helping people on their path to better health and through this program we are able to extend that purpose to veterans, people with disabilities and caregivers.  We are pleased to bring together two best-in-class organizations like Easter Seals and the American Lung Association to support smoking cessation."

SEE ALSO Helping Patients Stop Smoking 

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States and research indicates that veterans and people with disabilities have a higher incidence of smoking.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male veterans between the ages of 25 and 64 are more likely to smoke than non-veterans in the same age category, with 26% of veterans versus 22% of non-veterans being smokers. And, 23% of people with disabilities are smokers, compared to 17% of adults who report having no disabilities.  

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 42 million Americans smoke cigarettes, resulting in more than 480,000 deaths including 41,000 from exposure to secondhand smoke.  

"We are grateful for the opportunity to enhance the services Easter Seals provides to more than 1.8 million people with disabilities, veterans, caregivers and their families each year with this smoking cessation program through our partnership with CVS Health and its foundation," said Easter Seals President and Chief Executive Officer Randy Rutta.

The World Health Organization leads partners in marking World No Tobacco Day annually on May 31 to raise awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use and to advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Meanwhile, though analysts expected CVS to take a $2 billion hit by stopping selling cigarettes, the company actually saw its overall revenues climb in the first quarter after making the move, leading many to speculate that the American public supports the pharmacy chain’s anti-smoking efforts. How about you?

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