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CVS teams with Truth Initiative to stamp out tobacco use at college campuses

BY Brian Berk

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — The CVS Health Foundation is teaming up with the Truth Initiative to work with students and administrators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and community colleges across ther country to advoate for, adopt and implement 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campus policies.

According to CVS, where you live, who you love, your race, your mental health and financial status play an important role in how hard tobacco companies come after you. The "truth x CVS Health Foundation" tobacco-free campus initiative follows the launch of the latest campaign by truth, #STOPPROFILING, that underscores the fact that tobacco use is more than a public health issue, it's a social justice issue.

Despite lower youth and young adult smoking rates overall, smoking on college campuses remains a problem in the United States, CVS added. Of the 102 federally recognized HBCUs in the country, less than half have smoke-free and/or tobacco-free campus policies. Of the 1,108 community colleges in the U.S., only 360 have 100% smoke-free policies in place.

"With 99% of smokers starting before age 27, college campuses are critical to preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding current smokers in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all," said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative, the national public health organization that directs and funds the truth campaign. "Our partnership aims to counteract the decades of profiling of African Americans and low income communities by Big Tobacco. We are thrilled to be working with the CVS Health Foundation to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past on HBCU and community college campuses."

Since the launch of their tobacco-free college program in 2015, Truth Initiative has awarded funding to 135 colleges. To date, 50 colleges have gone smoke- or tobacco-free (40 community colleges and 10 HBCU's).

The "truth x CVS Health Foundation" tobacco-free campus initiative is part of CVS Health's Be The First campaign, the company's five-year, $50 million commitment to helping deliver the nation's first tobacco-free generation. CVS Health and the CVS Health Foundation have set actionable and measurable goals for Be The First, including a doubling of the number of tobacco-free educational institutions in the United States.

In addition to supporting Truth Initiative to expand technical assistance to support 42 HBCUs and 64 community colleges advance their campus policy effort, the CVS Health Foundation is also working with the American Cancer Society to help 125 colleges advocate for, adopt and implement 100% smoke- and tobacco-free campuses. Students, faculty and staff at the schools are charged with developing a campus task force, assessing tobacco use on their campus and developing public-education campaigns to support comprehensive tobacco- and smoke-free polices on the campus.

"Today's young people are a generation with an unyielding commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equality, and that includes making sure health benefits are equally distributed across ethnic and socioeconomic classes," said David Casey, chief diversity officer at CVS Health. "We're proud that the CVS Health Foundation is working with Truth Initiative to help HBCUs and community colleges adopt tobacco-free campus policies. Helping more colleges and universities go tobacco-free is an important step in achieving our shared goal of helping to deliver the first tobacco-free generation."

According to CVS, the tobacco industry has long profiled minority communities, particularly African Americans, with intense advertising and promotional efforts. “For example, in major cities like Washington D.C., there are up to ten times more tobacco advertisements in African American neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods. There is a disproportionate health burden of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality among African Americans. Each year, approximately 47,000 African Americans die from smoking-related disease. Research has also shown a clear pattern of targeted marketing in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. People living below the poverty level in the U.S. are nearly twice as likely to smoke, compared to those at or above the poverty level,” CVS stated in a news release.

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Meijer to expand home delivery to Ohio

BY David Salazar

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After success in Michigan and Indiana, Meijer will be partnering with Shipt to bring home grocery delivery to its customers in Ohio, the company announced Wednesday. The service will hit Dayton on April 27, Columbus on May 4 and Toledo in the summer, the company said.

Customers will be able to use the Shipt app or website to browse more than 55,000 items sold at their local Meijer stores, choose a one-hour delivery window and pay for their order. Products from throughout the store will be available, including produce, meat, dairy, health and beauty product. Meijer noted that because most of its stores are open 24 hours, deliveries will be available around the clock.

"Providing people with the option to shop online for thousands of grocery products and have them delivered to their door when it's most convenient for them is another Meijer innovation that helps our customers save time," Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. "The personalized service that Shipt offers, coupled with the quality and value our customers love about Meijer, creates a new type of shopping experience in Ohio."     

Since Meijer first piloted its delivery program in Detroit, expanding it to Grand Rapids, Mich. last fall, the company has seen more than 90,000 deliveries in Michigan. It also rolled the service out this week in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Ind.

"Meijer is a mainstay in Midwest retail and our growing partnership speaks to their commitment to continuously find new and innovative ways to delight their customers," Shipt founder and CEO Bill Smith said. "With these new expansions, Shipt will now be able to offer the convenience of home delivery from Meijer stores to over 20 million households, creating a simpler, more enjoyable grocery shopping experience across the Midwest."

Shipt said that it would be growing its network of shoppers who work to fulfill orders, with plans to hire 10,000 people across its six-state Meijer expansion — about 1,000 of which will be in Ohio. Shipt memberships come with an annual $99 fee, with members receiving free shipping for orders over $35 and paying a $7 delivery fee for orders less than $35.

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Walmart brings fight to Amazon with pickup discount effort

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart has fired another shot at Amazon.

In a move that leverages the retail giant’s vast store and delivery networks and expanding online capabilities, Walmart, starting April 19, will begin offering a discount on merchandise that customers buy online and have shipped to a Walmart store for pickup. Walmart’s new Pickup Discount program will initially be available only on about 10,000 items, but will be expanded to more than one million of the chain’s most popular items by the end of June.

Here’s how it works: Customers shop an item notated with “pickup discount” and ship to their local store for pick up. The shoppers will then receive a discount based on each individual item.

The discounts will vary. Walmart offered a few examples: Lego City Great Vehicles Ferry, which sells for $23.99, will have a pickup discount of $2.55; a Britax infant car seat that sells for $148.05 will have a discount of $7.40. Larger items will offer bigger discounts: a Vizio television that has a $1,698 price tag will offer a discount of $50.

The new feature was inspired by the Smart Cart technology developed by Jet.com, the e-commerce retailer Walmart acquired in September.  The technology, which used an algorithm to drive discounts, offered on a variety of ways shoppers could save on their purchases. (The founder of Jet.com, Marc Lore, is now the president and CEO of Walmart’s U.S. e-commerce.)

The program takes “the ethos behind Jet’s Smart Cart and marries it with Walmart’s operational efficiency to bring price transparency to life at walmart.com,” Lore wrote in a blog on Walmart’s website.

“We can remove the last mile delivery costs (that represent the lion’s share of the costs to ship products to customers’ homes) when we leverage our fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to deliver products directly from fulfillment centers to our 4,700 stores,” Lore added. “This means, quite simply, it costs less for us to ship to stores. So, our customers should share in those savings.”

The new pickup discount complements the Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup service, which is now in 600 stores. The chain plans to expand the service to an additional 500 stores this year, according to Lore.

“We already offer great prices online,” Lore said. “We do that every day. Offering a discount on Pickup demonstrates how we can take that to the next level by operating more efficiently and removing costs from the system to give customers even more ways to save.”

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