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The Wall Street Journal reports that CVS Health "plans to spend $50 million over the next five years on a youth antismoking campaign as it aims to position itself as a serious competitor in the health-care industry." The move comes less than two years after CVS banned the sale of tobacco products from its stores, a move that it said cost it $2 billion in annual sales.

According to the story, the initiative "will include social-media elements, videos, graphics and school programs. The goal is to contribute to a 3% decline in the national youth smoking rate and a 10% decline in the number of new youth smokers."

Some context from the Journal story:

"Youth antitobacco campaigns have been around for decades and have failed to completely bring an end to youth smoking. Nationally, tobacco companies outspend state-level tobacco prevention programs 20 to 1. The industry spends an estimated $9.6 billion on marketing annually, according to the American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other groups.

"Daily cigarette smoking has fallen more than 50% among high-school students over the past five years, according to government studies. An estimated 3% of 10th-graders and 5.5% of 12th-graders said they smoked in 2015. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 3,800 youth under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette daily, and more than 2,100 youth and young adults become habitual smokers."
KC's View:
There are few things sadder to me than seeing young people smoking ... it just seems to me that they are putting themselves at a long-term disadvantage from a young age, and that's a shame. And it reinforces to me the notion that there will be a special - and especially hot - circle of hell reserved for tobacco company executives.

Good for CVS.