Rite Aid is taking a stand against heart disease in women

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"Rite Aid drug stores are committed to making the cigarette department a profitable category in their stores...RJR wants to grow their business as Rite Aid wants to increase sales and profits"
memo from tobacco giant R. J. Reynolds

"We have just recently entered into new contract agreements with the major cigarette companies concerning the placement of [cigarette] racks...a tremendous income for Rite Aid"
Rite Aid memo

"We added permanent cigarette display fixtures...in an effort to increase sales"
Rite Aid memo

"180 brands of cigarettes that will now be stocked in all former Thrifty Payless stores...additional cigarette sales and premiums from cigarette companies...compliance is mandatory"
Rite Aid memo on acquisition of Thrifty Payless

Tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death among women in the U.S. Every year tobacco products kill 178,000 women in America. Lung cancer: 45,000. Heart disease: 40,000. Lung disease: 42,000.
CDC TIPS: Women and Tobacco

"help our valued customers lead healthier, happier lives"
Rite Aid mission statement

Tobacco product is responsible for two-thirds of all heart attacks in women under age 50.
Your Good Health, William Bennett, Harvard University Press, 1987, p. 95

"we are focused on and committed to the healthcare needs of our customers"
Rite Aid core values

"Smoking is a major cause of coronary heart disease among women. For women younger than 50 years, the majority of coronary heart disease is attributable to smoking. Since 1980, approximately three million U.S. women have died prematurely from a smoking-related disease. U.S. women lost an estimated 2.1 million years of life each year during the 1990s as a result of smoking-related deaths due to neoplastic, cardiovascular, respiratory, and pediatric diseases, as well as from burns caused by cigarettes. For every smoking attributable death, an average of 14 years of life was lost."
Tobacco and Women

"Same Great Taste, Fresh New Look: Rite Aid Quality Seal Cigarettes"
ad for Rite Aid brand cigarettes

"Heart disease is the overall leading cause of death among women, and smoking accounts for one out of every five deaths from heart disease. For many of the diseases caused by smoking, research has shown that women are more at risk than men. The tobacco industry has a long history of targeting its advertising at women and girls"
Background on Women and Girls and Tobacco

"Big Cigarette Savings. Big Vacation Discounts"
another ad for Rite Aid brand cigarettes

"Rite Aid bought out the Payless chain of pharmacies in Washington state, and promptly added tobacco products, which Payless had never sold."
message from health advocate

"The Brooks Pharmacy that the Rite Aid replaced never sold tobacco products. They say their mission is to 'help our valued customers lead healthier, happy lives.' Baloney. Rite Aid is only interested in their bottom line"
North Country Gazette

"the vast effort with which the tobacco industry has set out to target women with its products"
Tobacco Explained: Big Tobacco and Women

"Women have been extensively targeted in tobacco marketing"
Surgeon General's 2001 report: Marketing Cigarettes to Women

"Legislation has been brought before the Maryland legislature in which the legal smoking age would be raised to eighteen years of age. The major problem with such a bill is that it puts the burden on the retailer to determine the age of a tobacco purchaser before selling any tobacco products...This bill must be fought if you expect our continued support of the tobacco industry."
Rite Aid letter to Lorillard Tobacco

"Brown and Williamson Tobacco will indemnify Rite Aid against all claims for liability, damages, illness, personal injury and/or property damage arising out of Rite Aid's sale of B&W's cigarette and/or tobaccco products...including payment of all fees and costs in providing for Rite Aid's defense"
B&W Tobacco memo

The tobacco industry used Rite Aid to help defeat a 1994 youth cigarette access bill. The bill would have required cigarettes to be placed behind store counters or in locked cabinets. Rite-Aid, one of the largest cigarette vendors in the city, assembled a lobbying force to oppose the bill.
William Bunch, "Political Smoking Gun", Philadelphia Daily News, January 14, 1993, p. 3.

"Rite Aid has the worst rate of recidivism: 24% of the Rite Aid locations inspected by DCA sold tobacco to minors a second time.
NYC Consumer Affairs report

"Philip Morris will mobilize all resources to defeat...anti tobacco legislation or regulations"
"The Virginia Slims marketing effort will be image-building advertising which will continue to be updated and refined to reflect contemporary women and their values...image-enhancing fashion merchandise....women's focused events..."
"Top 35 accounts: Rite Aid"
Philip Morris confidential report

What can I get you?
Your Cancer and Drug Store
Satirical look at drug store chains like Rite Aid and the number one preventable cause of death in America.

Rite Aid to Help Fight Heart Disease, the No. 1 Killer Of Women Over 20
Rite Aid press release
The press release makes no mention of smoking, tobacco, or cigarettes. Rite Aid presents itself as part of the solution for heart disease, not part of the problem.

In the 7 years that Rite Aid has been a sponsor of the Go Red For Women campaign, more than 2000 women have died from heart disease caused by products they bought at Rite Aid. And Rite Aid made half a billion dollars selling those products.
Do the math

Tobacco Companies and Drug Stores: A Long and Close Partnership
PRwatch item