Retailer Provides Motivation with a Value-Filled Option for Customers to Become Smoke-Free in 2009
BENTONVILLE, Ark., January 15, 2009 – To help motivated consumers quit smoking and to further its Operation Main Street efforts to save customers money on prescription medications, Walmart today announced that it has expanded its affordable pharmacy program to include a smoking cessation prescription starter pack for $9, the lowest price on the market.* The $9 starter pack of bupropion ER 150mg, the generic equivalent of Zyban, is now available at Walmart, Neighborhood Market and Sam’s Club pharmacies in a 17-tablet, 10-day supply. This announcement is part of the retailer’s January Healthy Living initiative, which aims to help Americans maintain their better eating, smoking cessation and exercise pledges in 2009.
“Times are tight right now, and Walmart is committed to helping our customers maintain their healthy lifestyles in both good economic times and bad,” said Dr. John Agwunobi, Walmart senior vice president and president, health and wellness. “With our affordable smoking cessation offerings, we’re hopeful that smokers who are committed to quitting will be able to get the tools they need to stop smoking and still be able to afford everyday household items so they can live better.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 43 million Americans currently smoke, with 70 percent of them saying they want to stop. However – given today’s current economic landscape – money previously set aside for smoking cessation products may now be re-allocated toward items American families need most. Smoking cessation medication for $9 at Walmart may help reverse this trend as the bupropion ER starter pack – initiated at the request of both health care professionals and customers – is low-priced and affordable for consumers who want to quit.
"The public health community has long recognized that the cost of either cigarettes or smoking cessation medications has served as a determining factor for smokers to continue smoking or finally to decide to quit," said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., President and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation. "This move by Walmart to provide science-based smoking cessation therapies that smokers can more easily afford is a huge step forward in helping millions of smokers finally quit for good. We applaud Walmart and hope other retailers will follow their example. It can only result in longer, healthier lives."
According to the CDC, smoking cessation treatments, including counseling and medications, can double quitting success rates. In addition to the bupropion ER starter pack, Walmart also currently offers the following over-the-counter and prescription products for consumers and physicians to consider for continued success toward a smoke-free lifestyle:
- Nicorette Coated Gum 120-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($39.84)
- NicoDerm Step 1 21-count bonus pack patches or Step 2 14-count patches ($39.84)
- Commit Lozenges 96-count bonus pack, assorted flavors ($34.84)
- Equate-Brand Nicotine Gum, Patches, and Lozenges
- 60-tablet, 30-day supply of bupropion ER 150mg ($27)
“Quitting smoking is tough, but we know that when smokers have the resources available to help, their rates of success are higher,” said Terry Music, chief mission officer, American Cancer Society. “In addition to accessing smoking cessation medications, smokers wanting to quit should make a quit plan to further increase their chance of success. By calling the American Cancer Society Quitline® at 1-800-227-2345, smokers can talk with a trained counselor who can explain how best to use the cessation treatments and provide other tips and tools to help in a successful quit attempt.”
At more than 3,000 stores and supercenters nationwide, customers can now find over-the-counter smoking cessation products permanently featured in the tobacco area. For additional information and resources, consumers can visit www.Walmart.com/stopsmoking or the American Legacy Foundation’s website at www.BecomeAnEx.org.
* Lowest price for bupropion ER 150mg 10-day starter pack
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Walmart Stores, supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $296 million to local communities in the United States. More information about Walmart can be found by visiting www.walmartstores.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.
Ed. Note: The terms “Walmart” and Walmart Stores” refer to the corporate entity. “Walmart,” expressed as one word and without hyphenation, refers to the brand name of the company’s U.S. operations. This distinction came after the Company announced the introduction of a new logo for its U.S. store operations in June.