Real World Health Care Blog
Primary category:

Smoking Out Nicotine Addiction: What’s Working in the War on Cigarettes

With CVS Pharmacy’s recent announcement that cigarettes and other tobacco containing products will no longer be sold in its stores, Real World Health Care has been crunching the numbers on the success of anti-tobacco efforts and reviewing recent advances in smoking cessation. Here’s what we’ve found:

  • #1. Smoking still holds the unfortunate distinction of causing more preventable deaths than anything else.
  • 8 million. That’s how many lives have been saved by 50 years of anti-smoking efforts, according to a recent study by researchers from Yale University.

    Jamie Elizabeth Rosen

    Jamie Elizabeth Rosen

  • 19%. That’s the current smoking rate in the U.S., down from a whopping 42% five decades ago when U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry published the first report on the negative health impacts of smoking.
  • 3,000. The number of young people who still try their first cigarette every day. Almost 700 become regular smokers.
  • 7,600. The number of store locations that will no longer sell tobacco products as a result of CVS’s decision. Under the Tobacco Control Act, the Food and Drug Administration cannot mandate what retailers sell, although interestingly it does have the power to mandate the amount of nicotine in cigarettes in addition to advertising restrictions and general standards for tobacco production

Public consciousness, regulation, and education on the harmful effects of tobacco are all factors in the tremendous progress that has been made in saving lives. The World Health Organization’s global recommendations for tobacco control are known as the MPOWER measures and include the following:


With the efforts of both public and private sector actors, 2014 could be a watershed year for tobacco control in the U.S. In addition to CVS’s tobacco ban, several new initiatives on the part of the government and private industry have already been announced this year that address components of MPOWER:

  • Earlier this month, the FDA launched a new media campaign targeting youth. “We are addressing one of the biggest public health problems in this country and in the world,” FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said. “It’s something the FDA has not really done before in terms of a broad public health campaign of this magnitude but it’s something that we are so pleased to be doing because it matters for health.”
  • Walgreens and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Healthcare announced a smoking cessation initiative. Along with resources to help quit smoking, Walgreens’ new Sponsorship to Quit provides smokers with 24/7 tips and tools, celebrations for milestones, a free consultation and other valuable support systems for smokers in their journey to quit. MinuteClinic also provides online tips, tools and facts to help smokers kick their habits.

Have you or anyone you know succeeded in quitting smoking cigarettes or using other tobacco products? Have you seen an effective campaign against tobacco? Post to the comments section to share your impressions of what works.


  1. JH Newman

    After a 20-year addiction, (the last 10 years spent trying to break it), I finally realized it was ME vs. CIGARETTES, and I developed the resolve to win over this pathetic foe. No psychological counseling (tried 2x), hypnosis (tried 2x), or smoking cessation tools helped stop my vomiting each time I went 2 hours without my nicotine fix. When I decided I had to just suffer through the withdrawal, no matter the pain, it took 2 weeks before I knew I was winning the battle, but then I started feeling strong, empowered, and elated. It got easier every day after the first couple of weeks.

    I started by cutting down slowly, adding a little bit of extra time before lighting up each time cravings started, telling myself I could go another 10 minutes or more. I went from 2 packs to 1/2 pack a day over a few weeks. Then, I put one out and committed to never, ever light another one, no matter what it took to break free of that monkey on my back. Just black and white: I smoked my last cigarette ever, and there was no turning back for any reason.

    It took only 2 weeks of misery, constant vomiting, feeling like I was dying, and then I was a non-smoker! It is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and yet the simplest. It’s all a matter of finding the personal strength, and I’ve never lost the satisfaction, that sense of accomplishment, and the feeling of walking on air from quitting smoking. There isn’t a single good thing to be said for smoking cigarettes, and quitting is the best feeling in the world. I’m happy to coach anyone who wants to quit!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *