Category Archives: In the News

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CVS Health – Rebranding After Dumping Cigarette Sale Profits

President and CEO of CVS, Larry Merlo has been out talking it up on the media circuit!

The move to remove tobacco products effective Sept 3, 2014 coincides with a company decision to also change its corporate name to CVS Health

Merlo had this to say to the Wall Street Journal’s Paul Ziobro:

“While there’s never a right time to walk away from $2 billion in revenue, this was the right time. Eliminating this obstacle will allow our company to grow over the long term.”

Nationwide Walk In Smoking Cessation Clinics

pic-cvs-health-rebrandingAlong with a mission and commitment to move toward health and wellness CVS Health is rolling out “personalized” smoking-cessation services.

Support for ceasing smoking will be found at CVS Health’s 7,700 retail pharmacies and more than 860 walk-in clinics.

The new CVS Health Website opens with 3 videos.

1. President and CEO, Larry Merlo explains how CVS Health is shaping the future of health care for people, businesses and communities.

2. Chief Medical Officer, Troy Brennan weighs in on the dangers of smoking and why it’s never too late to go tobacco-free.

3. CVS/pharmacy President, Helena Foulkes details how our comprehensive and uniquely personalized smoking cessation program is helping people quit.

Congratulations to CVS for such a bold move and putting health and wellness above tobacco profits. It may take time to make up the loss from sales of tobacco based products but in time new business in the health sector may far surpass the loss.

Merlo tells Forbes contributor, Bruce Japsen that the changes are:

 “Pointing to $5.4 billion in new business wins for 2015…changing the name catches up with what we have been doing.”

One Good Reason Campaign

CVS “One Good Reason” campaign opens with a powerful video. They state that “seven in ten smokers say they want to quit. While quitting isn’t easy, it can be done.  But sometimes you need a little inspiration and support to finally quit for good.”

You can visit their twitter account and share your  “#One Good Reason”  on why would like to quit, which will provide inspiration for others. Or visit to receive inspiration to help you become tobacco free!

Go ahead, click to put a voice behind your desire and reasons for quitting!

Click > One Good Reason

To learn more, click  > CVS Health CEO Video Explains New Company Direction


Warning About Electronic Cigarette Chargers

Earlier this week a 62 year old man from Wirral in the UK was found dead in his home. Reports point to a fire that was caused when he was powering up his device using the wrong charger which caused an explosion that lead to a fire.

This isn’t the first fire in this area. At least eight other fires linked to E-Cigarettes have been reported on the Merseyside of Wallasey in the UK.

Consumers Be Aware When Using E-Cigarette Chargers

Besides using incorrect chargers or leaving a device plugged in for too long, there are additional safety concerns that can lead to fires.

Many e-cigarette suppliers provide chargers that have a cord with a USB plug and an AC adapter. This makes it tempting for an E-cig user to try and charge from car adapters, laptops, computers, and video game consoles. This should never be done due. Accidents like the one in Wirral are an example of what can happen when adapters get mixed up or when they are plugged into the wrong type of device.

In the US there have also been reported fires and other types of health risks. One explosion happened in Oklahoma City when a user left their device unchecked while plugged in under their desk.

Phoenix Fire Dept Report

pic-fire-e-cig-charger-1Phoenix Fire Department officials say they’ve noticed the increase and want families to know about the potential danger when charging devices.

The Fire Dept in Phoenix reported on a fire that caused over $100,000 in damage and luckily no lives were lost. Note the pictures in this article are taken from that report.

You can watch a video of the news report at ABC News.

pic-fire-damage-e-cig-charger-2Safety educators say e-cigarette users should not leave their devices unattended. A word of caution, never leave your device unattended and unplug once charged. Also, it would be very wise to make sure your smoke detector batteries are in working order and take out a good renter’s insurance plan.

Hopefully E-Cigarette makers will improve the way devices are charged before one more life is put in danger or more property is destroyed.

23.6 Billion Ruling Against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company

A lawsuit ruling brought by chain smoker’s widow against R.J. Reynolds was awarded the largest dollar amount of damages in history of any ruling against big tobacco.

“The jury wanted to send a statement that tobacco cannot continue to lie to the American people and the American government about the addictiveness of and the deadly chemicals in their cigarettes,”

Stated Christopher Chestnut, one of Robinson’s lawyers.

It took 11 hours for the Jury to determine the case. Upon returning they awarded a compensatory payout of $7.3 million to Robinson and $9.6 million to the couple’s son.

Seven Hours Later

Then the jury took another 7 hours to determine the punitive award. This is when the multibillion-dollar damage award was dropped like a lead hammer.

Big Tobacco Fuming

pic-rj-logo-bulding“This verdict goes far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness, and is completely inconsistent with the evidence presented,” said company vice president and assistant general counsel J. Jeffrey Raborn.
He vowed to appeal the “runaway verdict” that Robinson’s legal team said was the largest wrongful death payout for a single plaintiff in Florida history.

To read more about this story be sure and visit NY Daily News.

Thirdhand Smoke Effects DNA

On March 17th, 2014 Fox News reported new findings on the effects of “thirdhand smoke” from cigarettes and how it can damage DNA.

The revealing information points to the significant consequences secondhand some has on personal and home furnishings when they become covered with second hand smoke.

Items like clothing, drapes and curtains, all types of furniture, carpets, wallpaper (really any item where second hand smoke adheres) become permanent toxic delivery vehicles.

Bo Hang, at the Lawrence Berkeley lab, found that when nicotine in secondhand smoke reacts with nitrous acid in the air, it creates new compounds called nitrosamines. Hang discovered that these nitrosamines can bond to human DNA in a way that damages genes and gives rise to the potential for cells to become cancerous.

Children are at greater risk of coming into contact with nitrosamines as they crawl about, drop things and pick them up, put their fingers in their mouths.

Thirdhand smoke is there all the time – means that your exposure doesn’t end when they put that cigarette out. You’re being exposed constantly,” Schick from the University of California commented.

Thirdhand Smoke Adheres to WallsThe entire news report reveals how the effects of smoking in a home can linger long after the smokers move from the residence. This revealing study makes one think twice before buying a car, RV, home or any used item that belonged to a smoker.

One study examined homes that were previously occupied by smokers and the effects on children who moved into them. They found the children actually had higher levels of nicotine in their blood than children who moved into non-smoking homes.

Firsthand, secondhand, and now thirdhand smoke reveals that effects linger and can harm anyone in contact.

To read the entire article and watch the video news feed, visit > Thirdhand Smoke Poses Cancer Risk

Movie Night – The Insider

One of the events we enjoy in our home is a weekly movie night. Its a pleasant way to unwind and relax while spending time together with loved ones.

True stories put to film, when done well with great actors are not that easy to find.

The Insider, a film released back in 1999 should be on everyone’s “Have-to Watch List.”

This intense drama features two of my favorite award winning actors: Russell Crowe and Al Pacino.

Russell Crowe: Dr. Jeffrey Wigand

pic-insider-movieCrowe’s superb acting in The Insider impressively reveals what Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was up against as the central witness is one of the biggest tobacco industry lawsuits in history. It began with a court filing in Mississippi that lead to filings in 49 other states. Wigand was a top scientist who held discriminating inside information and when he choose to go public with what he knew the drama begins.

His disclosure of deeply buried and publicly withheld tobacco industry knowledge in the end lead to a settlement of $246 billion dollars. Crowe’s performance was top notch and the unfolding story keep us on the edge of the couch.

Al Pacino: As Lowell Bergman, Investigative Reporter

Lowell Bergman is a reporter that works with a Mike Wallace character (played by Christopher Plummer) of the “60 Minutes” TV show. The two men taped an interview with Wigand that revealed devastating statements against Big Tobacco and planned to air the show on 60 Minutes. Due to the power, potential threats, and corruption of Big Tabacco they also arranged a legal defense team for Wigand. Then the story gets very dicey just before this show is to air CBS corporate makes a decision to cancel airing the discriminating interview.

This corrupt and courageous story goes on to reveal how Bergman and others fought to reveal the truth and facts Wigand held. These dramatic events fractured loyalties and lead to divisions within 60 Minutes.  As the drama unfolds, Wigand was subject of a smear campaign of national attention and a lawsuit by Big Tobacco where he faced possible incarceration. Along with all the pressures he faced due to his decision to go public his marriage was deeply effected which lead to a divorce.

One would hope that such a dramatic story would be based on fiction, but this was far from fiction. The amazing tenacity of Bergman and Wigand, two men fighting to reveal a devastating truth withheld by the almighty Big Tobacco is an extraordinary document of events. In the end neither character walked away unchanged, and their lives were never the same.

By the time the movie ends you will have experienced so many emotional ups and downs. Its one of the greatest factual stories ever told, and its so well written, directed and acted. Be sure to queue The Insider at the top of your list.

Here’s the trailer to see a peak view of The Insider.

Insider Movie Trailer

Workings Farming Tobacco

The Poverty Trap of Tobacco Farmers in Developing Countries

To keep up with the demand for tobacco, transnational tobacco companies and manufacturers encourage farmers in developing countries to grow the plant.

This crop has been promoted as a solution to the extensive poverty these farmers experience.

Tobacco farmers receive low wages, put in long hours to tend to this intensive crop, and all benefits are had by the tobacco industry.

Intensive Labour Met with Low Wages & Returns

Tobacco is one of the most labour intensive crops. Almost everything, from seeding to harvesting, is done by hand. Farmers in developing countries enlist the help of the entire family to tend to the plants, including young children. As a result, these children miss out on valuable educational experiences that could serve as the key to breaking the poverty cycle.

Workings Farming Tobacco

Hiring extra labour is difficult for the farmers as well, as it is expensive to cover the wages for workers when the work day can last 16 hours or more and the return on investment is very low. Many tobacco farmers are lucky to break even at the end of the year, while others experience very low return for their hard work: for example, one farmer in Vietnam earns $250 US for every $130 US he invests.

Health & Safety Concerns of Tobacco Farming

The potential for tobacco farmers to be diagnosed with Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is high. GTS occurs when nicotine is absorbed from handling wet green tobacco leaves. Symptoms of this illness include: nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, cramps, respiratory problems, and blood pressure fluctuations.

These farmers are also exposed to extensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which can lead to skin rashes, dehydration, sleeping difficulties, and lung problems.

Environmental Concerns from Tobacco Crops

Farming tobacco plants creates environmental degradation. The pesticides and chemicals that are applied to the plants pollutes the fields and leeches nutrients from the soil. in the curing process, farmers use coal, a major air polluter, and massive amounts of wood. In fact, approximately 200,000 hectares of wood is used annually in the curing process around the world.

Substitute Crops

The governments of many developing countries are promoting to tobacco farmers other crops to diversify. For example, the Malaysian government has since 2005 offered financial incentives for tobacco farmers to substitute their growing operations with more sustainable, less labour intensive crops that yield higher financial returns, such as:

  • corn, rice, barely
  • kenaf and jathropa
  • dragon fruit, pineapple, sweet potato, and banana

To learn more about this poverty cycle, watch this informational short film.

The Tobacco Trap: Cycle of Poverty

Injunction Made in Lawsuit Fighting FDA Cigarette Warnings

Five tobacco manufacturers filed a lawsuit August 2011 against the FDA over the agency’s requirement that all cigarette packages carry a graphic warning label depicting the dangers of smoking.

By September 2012 the FDA requires all packaging to have a warning label. The main argument in the lawsuit was that this requirement threatened the constitutional rights of the tobacco manufacturers.

On November 8, 2011 U.S. District Attorney Judge Richard Leon granted an injunction on behalf of the tobacco manufacturers.

Big Tobacco Win Injunction

Judge Leon suspended the FDA’s requirements until the lawsuit is resolved. Therefore, the FDA cannot require tobacco manufacturers to include one of the nine proposed graphic warnings on cigarette packaging. Judge Leon noted that forcing the companies to do so violates their 1st Amendment rights of free speech.

Graphic FDA WarningAdditionally, the images proposed by the FDA went beyond portraying fact, and appear to be a form of advocacy as they carry a powerful emotional component. Judge Leon wrote in his ruling:

It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking – an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information.

The five tobacco manufacturers involved are R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc., Ligget Group LLC, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc. The lawsuit is expected to take years to resolve.

SC Horry County Schools

Smoke Free Horry Education and Resource Center

Students in the Digital Art and Design program at the Academy for Technology and Academics in Myrtle Beach have helped create a marketing campaign aimed at educating others students about the dangers of smoking.

The Smoke Free Horry Eduction and Resource Center opened in Myrtle Beach Mall as a resource center where students can help counsel other students with a tobacco-free lifestyle.

Statistics note that 240,000 South Carolina students are exposed to second hand smoke each year. 103,000 of these kids will likely die prematurely as a result of this exposure. Each year, 6,300 South Carolina children under the age of 18 become smokers themselves.

Students Taking a Smoke-Free Stand

Horry County Schools is one of the only districts in the country with a 100% tobacco-free policy. The Smoke Free Horry Eduction and Resource Center features educational and promotional material designed by students. This project has been both a valuable learning process for the students as they have learned to create an entire campaign from idea stage to completion, as well as an effective peer-to-peer method of spreading information.

SC Horry County SchoolsIn addition to the informative brochures and unique displays featuring facts and statistics about smoking and its harmful effects, the Digital Art and Design students have created a game, designed tee shirts, and even offer backpacks and yo-yos as part of their promotional campaign spreading the smoke-free message.

Spreading the No-Tobacco Message

Students working on the Smoke Free Horry campaign have travelled to various schools to help spread their message. Teachers, school administrators, and others who have partnered with this group are impressed with the entire process and look forward to seeing the positive outcome of such an innovative campaign.

Horry County Schools hopes that through youth risk surveys administered year to year, students’ answers regarding tobacco issues will indicate the peer-to-peer informational campaign is working.


Aging of a Smoker’s Face Not a Pretty Picture

Have you ever wondered what you’ll look like in ten years? How about twenty?

If you’re a smoker, you’d be amazed—or more appropriately said, horrified—at how this habit can affect the way you look.

Innovative age progression software APRIL by Aprilage Development allows users to take a peek at what aging and smoking will do to them.

Smoking Intervention Tool

Age progression software APRIL is a revolutionary computer program that shows how one’s appearance can be dramatically affected with the use of tobacco. Designed to be used in schools by teachers wanting to educate students on tobacco use prevention and leading healthy lifestyles, the software predicts using images, the premature wrinkling and discoloration of one’s face.

APRIL is based on the “future-time” perspective, or the ability to understand how behavior in the present affects one’s self in the future. This perspective has been proven to be highly effective as a smoking deterrent.

This smoking intervention tool was developed using a five-year long study of the physical characteristics involving over 7,000 people whose age, ethnicity, and lifestyle habits varied.

Smoking and Facial Appearance

Image of a Smoker and a Non-SmokerSmoking affects the appearance of people in a vast number of ways. However, a general guideline is that a pack a day habit can make an individual look 1.4 times as old as they really are. For example, a 20-year-old who smokes a pack a day can actually look 28, and a 40-year-old can look 56. Some studies also suggest that this guideline increases the older a smoker gets (as in some 40-year-old smokers can appear up to 20 years older than they really are).

Smoking leads to premature wrinkling of the skin. Smokers often notice their crows feet are sharper and deeper than those of a non-smoker, and numerous wrinkles appear on the cheeks, jaw, and around the lips.

Most smokers also take on an unhealthy grey tone to their skin. Once a smoker has quit the habit for a period of time, the skin’s natural color and rosy tint can reappear.

Users of the APRIL program can see the age progression of themselves both as a non-smoker and as a smoker with a pack a day habit. The comparison between these two scenarios is astonishing.

Watch New Report on Computer Demonstration of Aging Smokers

Click to see more >  Videos Comparing Aging Smoking VS not Smoking

Big Tobacco Gets Intimate with Girls and Women with Kiss Cigarettes

Sorry to say, but we are not making this stuff up.

We were researching internet statistics on how many women and men will not date a smoker. They are turned off by the awful ashtray taste and breath odor and wouldn’t think of kissing someone who repels them.

When googling the phrase “kiss a smoker,” we found listed among the top choices a web page advertising a brand of cigarettes completely designed to entice women and young girls to purchase them to become sexier. At first, I thought the title and description couldn’t be real. It had to be a spoof, right? NOT.

Big Tobacco’s Marketing Scheme

Another search lead me to a discount cigarette website selling this brand. The name: “Kiss.” The marketing copy was horrifying, and completely targeting young girls:

Kiss Brand CigarettesKiss cigarettes are produced under the supervision of the British “Innovation Tobacco Company” using the best tobaccos Virginia and Barley. “Innovation Tobacco Company” cooperates with world’s biggest suppliers, which guarantees high quality of all components of Kiss Menthol cigarettes. Discount Kiss cigarettes are created by the excellent cigarette’s foreign specialists.

Kiss cigarettes are manufactured under control of foreign cigarette specialists. Quality is executed at every technological stage level. The secret of the high-quality of Kiss cigarettes is in the balanced selection of discount cigarettes tobacco leaf, cultivated in various corners of the planet like Greece, Brazil, Argentine and Malawi. Kiss cigarettes blend trend—American blend—is the most popular and fashionable nowadays. Kiss Superslims cigarettes brand answers the girls’ wishes to be economic and offers a very reasonable price.

Kiss cigarettes are for those who feel young, bright, self-confident—and a bit crazy!

Innovative Tobacco Products Annual Report

Kiss CigaretteAgain, I can’t make this stuff up. Here is what it should say:

If you want to see who is getting rich at the expense of young girls and women’s health, check out > Innovative Tobacco Product’s annual report.