As of Oct. 1, the only puffs for sale at CVS will be tissues or cotton balls.
This company has boldly opted to stop selling tobacco products, which it has deemed incongruent in facilitating health care.
What a breath of fresh air! I am de- lighted, and I hope others will be, too.
As a reformed smoker, I now find the habit disgusting. Moreover, I consider smoking an addiction that leads to myriad health problems. In the late ’50s, when I started smoking, cigarettes cost 25 cents from the machine in my college dorm. Menthols were appealing initially, and OPs (other people’s) were always accepted.
Filtered cigarettes were considered “safer” then, and it had become “acceptable” for women to smoke. (See “I Love Lucy” reruns).
Coeds of the ’60s soon learned smoking etiquette, i.e., not to let the cigarette leave their hands when lighting up, not to smoke while walking, etc.
Later, in the ’70s, the “You’ve come a long way, baby” ads glorified smoking, creating a brand specifically targeting women.
We did go a long way, albeit backward; we were stuck in denial of the health warnings we chose not to heed. We considered ourselves immortal; we thought we looked “Kool.”
In the early ’80s, my youngest daughter often told me, “Mommy, please don’t smoke,” as she took the cigarette from my hand. I merely lit up another.
Her words became more meaningful to me than she might realize. Even though I was not a heavy smoker, there is no such thing as a “little bit’ (as in a little bit pregnant or a little bit dead). Just because I did not always inhale, did not mean it was OK. Nor was the secondhand smoke good for those around me or for the environment. In 1986, when cigarettes went up to $1.25 per pack, I quit. They were too expensive, but the more serious part of the equation, i.e., the extreme health danger, had not yet kicked in for many of us.
Even then, I realized the odor a smoker emits can be unnerving to others. Now, when I pass someone who is smoking outside a building or in a car at a red light, I find the smell offensive. I know I must have reeked when I smoked.
There is a saying, “kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray.” Nicotine saturates the clothes and the body, and seeps out of the pores. It permeates walls, draperies and furniture in the house. Imagine how much havoc it is wreaking inside the body.
Now know that smoking causes wrinkled skin. I certainly need give no help to what Mother Nature does all too well by herself!
One company refusing to sell tobacco products will not stop smoking, but it is clearly a proactive “filter,” a catalyst and a deterrent. I will wager that the good will and improved health from CVS’ stance will far outweigh any losses from tobacco-using customers.
With CVS’ move we have indeed “come a long way, baby” and this time it is forward. Let’s hope that other businesses take this same risk instead of dragging their feet, waiting to exhale.
Clemensen is a Modesto resident and retired educator. Send questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.