Banning tobacco sales an example to be followed

For decades I’ve advocated Maui’s retail stores stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. Along with letters to The Maui News I’ve written to store managers and company chief executive officers, pointing out this is a choice stores can make – the right choice.

They profess to care about the communities in which they operate, and cigarette smoke is bad for everyone, everywhere. Smokers and everyone near them are impacted detrimentally by cigarette smoke – indoors or outdoors.

If someone smells cigarette smoke, they’ve inhaled a class A carcinogen. There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand cigarette smoke – none.

My campaign got nowhere.

Until now.

CVS Caremark, the parent company of Longs Drugs in Hawaii, announced it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. I compliment and salute the policymakers at CVS, and urge all other Hawaii retailers, not just drug stores, to follow this enlightened policy. Interestingly, Kahului Longs is adjacent to a natural foods market which, unlike every other Maui supermarket, does not sell tobacco products – and its business is booming.

My hope is this financial fact isn’t lost on decision-makers at other retail stores – particularly one of Maui’s most popular big-box stores. This store sells massive numbers of cigarettes by the carton while it publishes a monthly magazine filled with articles about how much it cares about its customers and communities. Really? Then prove it. Adopt a no-tobacco-sales policy and announce it proudly.

Jerome Kellner