Walgreens' "Million Hearts" HealthWashing Ploy

smoking heartOn September 13, 2011, Walgreens announced it is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in a "new effort to fight heart disease" called the "Million Hearts Initiative." Walgreens says the goal is to help prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years by "finding ways to reduce the number of people who need treatment and improve the quality of treatment for those who need it." The chain's press release about the  Initiative says heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death, respectively. What Walgreens doesn't say is that while it searches for ways to prevent heart disease, the chain also continues to sell one of the nation's leading causes of heart disease and stroke: cigarettes. Not only that, but when the city of San Francisco passed an ordinance in 2008 banning pharmacies from selling cigarettes (based on the logic that as health-promoting businesses, pharmacies should not promote smoking) Walgreens fought the measure. The chain even issued an
action alert (pdf) saying it needed to keep selling cigarettes to help people quit
smoking. When that failed, Walgreens sued the city of San Francisco to try and block the ordinance. When the court threw out Walgreens' suit, the chain filed an appeal to continue the challenge.


...no pharmacies sell cigarettes. They used to, but years ago, the hypocrisy of do so was pointed out to them. One chain stopped, and another, and eventually, they all stopped.

Now, if we can only get them to stop selling magnetic and copper 'healing' devices...

I was just thinking Canada. I have been up there about 10 times and if I lived there, I don't think I would smoke or drink. I think the cigarettes were around $8.00 (canadian) and you have to buy alcohol at a state store or a bar (drink). We stopped at a state store and it was $26.00 (canadian) for a quart (vodka) I think. That was about 7 or 8 years ago,I can't image what it is now. I quit smoking 6 years ago (I had smoked for 30+ years) because of health concerns. Its not that hard to quit when you start having health problems and I am quite sure it was my smoking. But it wasn't heart problems... depends on the person I guess.

Neither does Walgreens, Pfizer (Chantix), Johnson and Johnson (Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, Nicoderm CQ, Commit Lozenges) the American Canccer Society (J&J grant funding for lobbying for smoking bans) the American Heart Association (J&J grants), the American Lung Association (J&J grants) Tobacco Free Kids (J&J grants), the Legacy Foundation, (J&J created this one and the Tobacco Free Kids) the AMA (J&J grants) the CDC (J&J grants) the World Health Org (J&J & Pfizer grants) the Democratic Party (J&J & Glaxo & Pfizer campaign donations) the Republican Party (same), any state government (tobacco tax revenue AND campaign donations to both parties).
If the government wants people to stop smoking, just ban the selling. No, what they are complicite with the drug companies in doing is legislating smoking out of adult venues, which results in the desired outcome, ostracizing and villifying smokers onto the cessation products of the drug companies who fund the bans.
Ban the selling of tobacco and no one will buy cessation products.
J&J already have theirs on Medicare payout.
J&J recently created the new "war" on obesity (sugar). That started the day they bought Splenda.

Smoking does not cause heart disease.

You are misinformed. Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease. Please access CDC's web page about [http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/#adults Smoking and Cardiovascular disease].

Let's not pretend that policy development is always innocent in its inception. It is derived to obtain a result that is often driven by agendas. We only need to look at the regulatory environment for GMO's, petroleum exploration

The use of selective data in meta-analysis and the pseudo-science of statistical analysis detailing likelihoods instead of scientific evidence can be used to distract the public attention from just about any likely contributor to disease, including nuclear bomb tests (2,050 between 1954-1998 - Brookings Institution), industrial contamination, dietary shifts away from traditional diets, etc. As well, with over 600 additives and an unknown amount of pathogens in the average cigarette, one might want to consider the adulterants in their investigations instead of the scapegoat.
There has yet to be a single study that has proven a causal link between cancer and smoking. Only biased meta-analysis and statistical re-interpretation.

For example, in his pioneering studies in the 1950s and 60s, Professor Sir Richard Doll reckoned that about 160 in 100,000 smokers developed lung cancer as opposed to 7 in 100,000 nonsmokers; so you have about a 24 times greater risk if you smoke. This can also be expressed as '2,400%'. This is an estimated risk shown as a percentage and is often used in policy decisions and propaganda. The reality remains that no study has shown a causal link between cancers and smoking.

In fact, the opposite is true. There are several health benefits to smoking backed up with peer-reviewed studies demonstrating causal links between the health benefits and tobacco. Google smoking or tobacco and health benefits, eg. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_benefits_of_smoking

We are talking about a plant that has been consumed for thousands of years but the health concerns only seemed to have arisen in parallel with industrialization.

Of course, unless you want to prove more about how unhealthy smoking is, you'll probably have difficulty in finding funding to provide independent scientific analysis of tobacco. And yet the results keep trickling in.

Another interesting avenue for investigation is the change to tobacco farming and cigarette production practices. Good quality tobacco goes to export markets and expensive cigar production. Cigarettes in North America are actually composed of blends of local tobacco and tobacco grown in countries with poor environmental regulations (usually African) where pesticides, fertilizers, anti-fungals and organic pathogens are a matter of course. After the whole leaf tobacco goes to manufacturing low quality cigars and pipe tobacco, remnants are ground up and mixed with chemical additives and liquids to make a slurry, which is then poured onto a forming fabric similar to how paper is made. These sheets are then shredded and stuffed into cigarette tubes. That can't be good and would certainly add to risk.

And don't get me started on the second hand smoke myth that really ramped up smoking bans. It would be easier for me to point out the efforts of others. http://www.smokershistory.com/etsheart.html for starters.

In fact, an interesting analysis of the lies behind smoking and health policy can be found at the news aggregator and analysis site Signs of the Times: http://www.sott.net/articles/show/231973-Smoke-Lies-and-the-Nanny-State

The disproportionate response to smoking when compared to other potential polluters (cars, for example) makes me wonder what the driver behind the movement is. In this era of corporate contamination of governments, I can only imagine the agenda is to draw our attention away from the industrial polluters so they can continue poisoning us without blame or obstruction.

I don't deny there are risks associated with smoking as there are with alcohol use and milk drinking. But I think the convenient scapegoat of smoking as the blame for cancers is naive at best and dangerous at worst. We cannot live in a risk free environment, which is precisely what the nanny state expends incredible amounts of energy trying to achieve. As adults, we should be able to govern ourselves in how we assess risk and in our actions, provided those actions don't impede on the rights on others in a significant way. I smoke organic, whole leaf tobacco. Since switching from traditional cigarettes, my lungs have cleared up and my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia has almost disappeared. At 45, my blood pressure is almost like that of a teenager. In fact, my doctor couldn't find any evidence of my smoking she often sees and hears in her smoking patients.

Another interesting thought is that if smoking is so deadly and anti-smoking measures have now been in place for a few decades, why do we only see the constant rise in diseases attributed to smoking, be they in smokers or non-smokers alike? Would we not expect to see a decline in such disease?

There's so much I could add but I fear I've already taken more than enough space. Anyone interested in serious research on this topic can find all of the information they need through searching Google Scholar and Pub Med.

There are certainly hundreds of peer reviewed studies on the health risks of tobacco. We are seeing declines in lung cancer, but it will be slow in response to the lowered smoking rates because that is the pathophysiology of the disease. Someone who has twenty pack years of smoking in their history may take another decade to develop cancer. Heart disease risk is much quicker to rebound.
I am a Family Physician who has practiced medicine for forty years. I will tell you that there are other causes of lung cancer (Radon and asbestos are two), but over 90% of the hundreds of lung cancer patients that I have taken care of in my professional lifetime were smokers.

I think everyone should appreciate the initiative taken to create awareness of stop smoking.