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CVS joins Vital Strategies’ ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ campaign

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CVS Health joins a growing list of companies to ‘Quit Big Tobacco’, a Vital Strategies initiative aimed at taking money, talent and expertise away from the tobacco and e-cigarette industries

CVS Health, a US based health innovation company, has pledged not to work with advertising or public relations agencies who work with tobacco and e-cigarette companies, following its decision to remove tobacco from its stores five years ago. They have declared their support for the ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ campaign created by Vital Strategies, an international public health organization headquartered in New York.

The tobacco industry spends billions of dollars each year on cigarette and e-cigarette marketing, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Marketing tactics, such as kid-friendly flavors and promotion by social media influencers, have contributed to the nearly 80% rise in vaping among U.S. high school students between 2017 and 2018. A National Health Institute survey found that 40 percent of young adults who use e-cigarettes every day or even for some days were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.

“Five years ago, we quit selling all tobacco products and made a commitment to help people lead tobacco-free lives, including investing in youth tobacco prevention programs in order to support the first tobacco-free generation,” said Norman de Greve, Chief Marketing Officer for CVS Health. “Big tobacco is increasingly using new channels to directly target our youth – including leveraging social media and influencers. We unequivocally take the ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ pledge, meaning we will not work with any marketing and public relations agencies that have ties with the tobacco industry, and we urge other companies to join us in this critically important fight.”

CVS Health has joined the bandwagon of more than 200 organisations to take the Quit Big Tobacco pledge. Vital Strategies promotes its Tobacco-Free Agencies list so that companies can make sure the ad or public relations agencies they work with have no ties to the tobacco industry.

“Tobacco companies claim that all their lying and deception is behind them, but they’re reaching out to their old advertising friends under new pretenses,” said Alex Bogusky, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of advertising agency Crispin Porter Bogusky. “At CPB, we know agency reputation and new business suffers when a client’s goal is selling addiction. CVS Health’s pledge to ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ is a strong signal to our industry that cutting ties with the tobacco industry isn’t just good practice- it’s good business.”

Quit Big Tobacco, an initiative of Vital Strategies, unites leading advertising agencies, public relations firms, and health-oriented organizations and brands to pledge not to work with the tobacco industry or agencies that do. Ad and PR agencies that pledge to ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ join a list of Tobacco-Free Agencies committed not to work with tobacco or vaping clients. By taking talent and expertise away from Big Tobacco, ‘Quit Big Tobacco’ aims to reduce the uptake of tobacco use and its health harms so that people can live longer, healthier lives.

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