About the Colony

CVS is right on to pull cigarettes from its shelves

Special to The TribuneFebruary 10, 2014 

Lon Allan


I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life, but I suspect I have suffered from the impact of secondhand smoke anyway.

I grew up in the 1950s when everyone smoked. I can remember times at family events when all the adults smoked inside the house. You could hardly see to the other end of the living room. My brother and I sat in the back seat of the car, windows rolled up, and both parents smoked, more times than not lighting one cigarette off the one about to expire. People smoked in the movies. Edward R. Murrow had a lighted cigarette in his hand as he conducted those very popular "Person to Person" interviews.

Friends constantly tried to get me to join them in a smoke in college and the Navy.

Although the libertarian side of me was against laws prohibiting smoking in restaurants and many public places, I’m glad nobody listened to me. I love not smelling cigarette smoke in my favorite eatery or at the band concerts at Atascadero Lake Park during the summer.

And I was delighted to read last week that CVS pharmacy is pulling cigarettes from its shelves. I always wondered why, if a pharmacy exists to promote good health practices, it sold cigarettes and beer, wine and other spirits. It just didn’t make sense to me.

It is obvious the move by CVS isn’t going to reduce smoking. Such a move is commendable because the company estimates it will lose about $2 billion in annual sales. What I hope will happen, however, is those other large retailers will follow suit and pull cigarettes and alcohol from their shelves.

One day a month I take my turn as a docent at the Atascadero Historical Society’s Colony House next to Atascadero Creek. I see many teens sitting on the curb in the Sunken Gardens and walking into the creek area — many smoking cigarettes.

I find it hard to comprehend why anyone would smoke these days with all the information regarding the harmful effects of tobacco.

Many of my friends who have eventually quit smoking have told me how hard it is to stop. I admire them for doing so, and applaud their efforts to improve their own health and make their homes a healthier environment.

I hope other pharmaceutical firms will come to the same conclusion that tobacco and good health don’t go together.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades, and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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