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CVS Health commits $50 million to deliver nation’s first tobacco-free generation

BY Michael Johnsen
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health on Thursday announced the launch of "Be The First," a five-year $50 million initiative to help deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. 
 
"We are at a critical moment in our nation's efforts to end the epidemic of tobacco use that continues to kill more people than any other preventable cause of death, and threatens the health and well-being of our next generation," stated Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Health. "Ensuring our youth stay tobacco-free requires increased education and awareness of healthy behaviors. We're partnering with experts across the public health community who have established best practices to help prevent tobacco use," he said. "And, by establishing more public-private partnerships to implement these strategies more aggressively, we can help increase the number of people leading tobacco-free lives and move us one step closer to delivering the first tobacco-free generation."
 
To help achieve these goals, CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation have enlisted the help of the nation's leading anti-tobacco and youth organizations to support programs that each address a unique part of the tobacco epidemic. 
 
Many of these partnerships will be launching in the coming weeks. 
 
These include new and expanded tobacco education programming with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Scholastic, as well as advocacy and tobacco-control initiatives with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the National Urban League to accelerate declines in rates of smoking and other tobacco use among teens and young adults.
 
Be The First is directed at youth and young adults who use tobacco or who are at risk of becoming regular tobacco users, as well as the country's 3 million elementary school children who, without early tobacco education, may become future tobacco users. It is also focused on continuing to support community-based cessation programs for adult smokers, who expose children to tobacco use in the home and other public venues that permit smoking.
 
To help guide the initiative, CVS Health is convening a national advisory group made up of a diverse group of thought leaders who will advise on trends, initiatives and strategies that help advance the company's efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free. 
 
Members of the advisory group include: 
 
  • Aria Finger, CEO of DoSomething.org;
  • Rosie Henson, SVP Prevention and Early Detection at the American Cancer Society;
  • Barry Hummel, Jr. of the Quit Doc Foundation;
  • Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids;
  • Harold Paz, chief medical officer for Aetna;
  • Steve Schroeder, director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California San Francisco; and
  • Aaron Zeiler, the 2015 Frank Karel Fellow in Public Interest Communications.
 
"Both the public health community and private sectors must work together if we are to advance a national strategy to end the tobacco epidemic, especially among our children," Myers noted. "We applaud CVS Health for continuing to demonstrate its leadership and commitment to helping people lead tobacco-free lives with this significant investment in the health and well-being of the next generation of Americans."
 
CVS Health has set actionable and measurable goals over the next five years for its Be The First initiative, including contributing to a 3% decline in the national youth smoking rate, a 10% decline in the number of new youth smokers and doubling the number of tobacco-free college and university campuses.
 
Additionally, Be The First will support acampaign to encourage tobacco-free social media. The #BeTheFirst social campaign will include a variety of shareable videos, graphics and digital tools that enable youth to express their commitment to "be the first" generation to lead tobacco-free lives and counter social media messaging and imagery that promotes youth tobacco use. Research shows that exposure to social media that depicts tobacco use predicts future smoking tendency, over and above the influence of TV and movie depictions of smoking. By helping to make the virtual world of social media tobacco-free, Be The First is helping to provide young people with the motivation to adopt and advocate for the same healthy behaviors in the physical world where it truly matters.
 
 
 
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Retail health fairs — one of the most exciting public health trends

BY Alex Hurd

Retail health fairs — both mega events, such as Walmart’s “America’s Biggest Health Fair” on Oct. 10, 2015, or smaller, periodic local events hosted annually by thousands of retailers across the country — represent one of the simplest mechanisms for massive, individualized public awareness around such key health issues as flu prevention, early diabetes detection and/or prevention, and more.

(Click here to view DSN's special report on retail health fairs, "Health Event Horizon.")

These events represent an access point for health services for millions of Americans who currently don’t engage with the system, whether it is for lack of insurance, lack of time or simply lack of knowledge on where to start.

At the event Walmart organized last October, we completed nearly 300,000 screenings and more than 50,000 immunizations. Based on public health models, we estimate that nearly 7,000 customers learned that they had high blood pressure, and 3,000 customers learned that they might be diabetic. We also received hundreds of stories of customers for whom the screenings represented a wake-up call and who, in many cases, sought out additional medical professionals for follow-up.

Knowledge is the first step in one’s journey to self-improvement; after all, you can’t take action unless you know there is an issue.

Hosting these types of events makes a lot of sense for grocers and retail pharmacies. Not only can you engage consumers where they already are, but, more importantly, you can present them with a set of solutions around healthier food, activities and supplements.

Walmart, from a public health perspective, is uniquely positioned due to its sheer size and scale — estimated at 140 million customer visits weekly — and the broad assortment of products, services and solutions of which customers can take advantage to launch their journey to “live better” with healthy fresh food, pharmacy, vision, over-the-counter medications and exercise equipment and electronics.

In addition to building on the success of our “America’s Biggest Health Fair,” we are planning to host a national event in March with a special focus on our associates, and another in October.

Using the health fair as a starting point, we’re crafting solutions to assist members in taking simple actions to deepen their knowledge around a specific health issue and to take clear, simple steps. Payers have shown extreme interest in collaborations where we engage with members in a positive, simple and meaningful way is an area with which most struggle.

I am convinced that expanding these types of community-based health access programs can play a key role in creating a more sustainable health delivery system for our country. However, I am heavily biased by my own experience; 10 years ago, I spent time in the Southeast Asian country of Cambodia assisting the Ministry of Health to increase access to HIV/ AIDS care and treatment programs.

In Cambodia’s recent history, the Khmer Rouge had annihilated the entire medical professional class during its brutal regime from 1975 to 1979 and left the government with no choice but to explore nontraditional ways to expand access to treatment for their people. With the assistance of some great NGO leaders, Cambodia was able to roll out a number of community health programs leveraging simple tools delivered, in many cases, by nonmedical professionals to combat such diseases as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria, and achieved some great results, including medication adherence rates, which, if we could replicate in our country, would be significant.


Alex Hurd is senior director product development, growth and payer innovation at Walmart health and wellness.

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Asian Naturals introduces spa bath salts

BY Gina Acosta

JUPITER, Fla. — First Aid Research is introducing a new brand that responds to the ever-increasing popularity of spas.

The new brand, called Asian Naturals, plans to debut single treatment bath salts to the market. The single-use bags are convenient and designed for one bath or about 15 minutes of soaking time. The bath salts will come in the following scents:

  • Lavender
  • Green Tea and Chamomile
  • Eucalyptus

 

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