CVS Health Corp. rescinded its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after the company discovered the Chamber’s mission to undermine global anti-smoking laws. Last year, CVS stopped carrying tobacco products, galvanizing its stance against smoking and tobacco use.
“We were surprised to read recent press reports concerning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on tobacco products outside the United States,” said David R. Palombi, senior vice president of CVS. “CVS Health’s purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose.”
The New York Times recently reported how the Chamber and foreign partners targeted smoking restrictions, tobacco tax increases, and graphic warning labels, mostly in developing and third world countries. For instance, Philip Morris has been using its money and legal muscle to pressure Uruguay into loosening its anti-smoking laws.
The actions of the Chamber of Commerce are in direct opposition with four of its biggest healthcare companies: Anthem, Health Care Service Corp., Steward Health Care System of Boston, and the Indiana University Health System. Perhaps CVS’s departure will prompt these other groups to leave the Chamber, as well.
The Chamber says the reports regarding its mission to undermine global anti-smoking laws is part of a “misinformation campaign.” However, several notable groups, like the World Health Organization, have reported on the efforts to dismantle global anti-smoking laws.
Big Tobacco is the most vicious of any large industry, perhaps even more than the oil industry. Big Tobacco, with the help of the U.S. Chamber, uses money and power to promote the deadly use of tobacco around the world, another example of putting profits over people.