Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How Can the American Heart Association Partner with a Company that Sells Billions of Cigarettes Each Year?

Is the American Heart Association so desperate for money that it needs to partner with a company that sells billions of cigarettes each year?

Apparently so.

The American Heart Association is partnering with Walgreen's in a fund-raiser for the Association during the month of February. As first reported by Anne Landman at her blog, the American Heart Association is helping Walgreen's profit from cigarette sales: "AHA’s fundraising partnership with Walgreens brings AHA lots of money. That’s clearly the reason, sad as it is, that AHA continues to maintain it.  AHA’s partnership in Walgreens’ annual “heart health” promotion helps Walgreens keep fooling the public into believing the drug chain really cares about peoples’ health. It doesn’t. All it cares about is profits. What we are witnessing in this promotion is AHA  selling its credibility to Walgreens for cold, hard cash. The PR tactic behind this unseemly alliance is called “healthwashing.” The American Heart Association is helping Walgreens healthwash the chain’s continued profiteering from the sale of deadly cigarettes."

As Landman also points out: "Walgreens says it promotes heart health, while continuing to also sell the single biggest cause of heart disease: cigarettes. Walgreens even goes to lengths to downplay smoking as a major cause of heart disease on its website. Check this out: Walgreens’ “Heart Health FAQ” page, another happy-talk web page, has a photo of apple with a cute little heart in it and the tagline, “Make your whole heart happy with small steps that can make a difference.” You would think THIS page would contain information about the part quitting smoking plays in preventing heart disease. Nope. ... As one of the country’s biggest cigarette outlets, Walgreens is an ally of the tobacco industry and thus cares absolutely nothing about customers’ health."

The Rest of the Story

Keep in mind that this is a company that acknowledges $9 million in annual cigarette sales in San Francisco alone. That's from 52 stores, just 0.6% of its U.S. total. Multiply that by 160 and you get more than $1 billion in annual cigarette sales.

And this is a company that the American Heart Association wants to partner with?

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