By Allison Ashley

One of the country’s largest chains of drugstores has decided to stop selling the product that will cost it almost $2 billion a year in sales: cigarettes.

Starting October 1st, this decision will make CVS the first pharmacy chain to take a stand against health issues related to tobacco products. But, will people get the message or just find someone new to support their habit?

According to the American Lung Association, smoking cigarettes is known to be the number one cause of premature death worldwide. Every year 443,000 Americans are diagnosed with a smoking-related disease and 8.6 million people are living in the United States with a serious illness caused by smoking. The drugstore’s decision to remove cigarettes from their 7,600 stores is parallel to their company’s official vision, which explains, “We strive to improve the quality of human life.”

But, as a private company do they have the right to tell what the best “quality of human life” is?
CVS’s very talked-about public-health conscious decision has proceeded to bring this controversial topic to the surface, and has influenced others to become aware of the tobacco-related epidemic facing our country.

Healdsburg may become the first town in California to change the legal age to purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21. Their goal is not to ban smoking, just to delay the age that people could buy tobacco products in hope they don’t develop a habit so early.

The city of Healdsburg is forgetting one thing: how smart teenagers are. It would be only a couple miles to drive to Windsor or Santa Rosa to get their fix. Or are they going to take away our licenses until we are 21 as well?

At 18 years old, which is considered a legal adult in the United States, someone is able to vote on laws that affect others’ lives or go to war to fight for our country, but don’t have the right to make a health choice because people have decided that dying in a war is better for you than smoking a cigarette.

The president of CVS, Larry Merlo, released a statement saying, “Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered. This is the right thing to do.”

So what’s next? Not being able to buy alcohol because it can be abused? Or Sour Gummy Worms or soda because they can lead to childhood obesity? These days it seems that everything, except for kale, causes cancer, so it should be our choice on what we decide to put into our bodies.

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