Recently, you may have heard or read the news that Reynolds American have actually announced that they will be banning smoking in all of their offices, effective as of next year, 2015. At first glance this news isn’t that shocking as numerous businesses and practices have banned smoking in public places, and for good reason too. Smoking is an extremely unpleasant habit to be around, especially if you yourself aren’t a smoker. CVS HEALTH also recently banned tobacco products from their stores, but, what’s really interesting, is that the cigarettes and tobacco products that Reynolds American are looking at banning, are actually how they make their money, as the company owns cigarette brands such as Pall Mall and Camel, and is the second most lucrative tobacco company on the planet.

So then, why would a company ban its employees from using the very products that are generating them billions upon billions every single year? Quite the double standard wouldn’t you say? That’s like McDonalds banning their employees from eating Big Macs on their premises during their lunch breaks. It all comes down to a code of ethics as the company’s business practises appear to be conflicting with what the company wants their brands to represent. At the forefront of these unique and groundbreaking decisions are two women: The president of CVS Pharmacy, and the EVP of CVS Health, Helena Foulkes, and Susan Cameron, the CEO and president of Reynolds American. Here’s a little background info and what these two women had to say on the matter.

Helena Foulkes – Back in February, CVS HEALTH, whom were then known as CVS CAREMARK, announced that they would no longer be selling cigarette or tobacco products in their stores. This was an extremely bold announcement to make because this decision would lose the company around $2 billion in revenue from its various stores. But why make the decision now? Helena Foulkes was quoted as saying that it was a decision that the company had been mulling over putting into action for a number of years, “it was very consistent with our purpose, it reflected where we were going strategically as a company” she said. The reason for the decision was clear however: people’s health. CVS claimed that they wanted to help people on their way to better health and a better quality of life, and obviously cigarettes are one of the unhealthiest products on the face of the earth. They wanted to be taken seriously as a health related brand and as a result, the cigarettes simply had to go. This is a subject close to Foulkes’ heart as her own mother sadly died of lung cancer. The decision was bold but has been met with very warm regards.

Susan Cameron – Back in July, Cameron actually acquired the tobacco company Lorrilard, for a staggering $27.4 billion! Cameron plans to alter the tobacco industry and offer smokers healthier alternatives and options. She has been quoted as saying that people need to quit smoking, and Reynolds American plans to find them healthier alternatives. Vapor, e-cigs, and gum for instance, are now all being focussed on by Reynolds, as they offer far healthier side effects than smoking. Both Foulkes and Cameron have gone on record as stating that smoking is harmful and extremely unhealthy, and if they are willing to risk losing money for their respective businesses in order to help promote healthy living and healthy alternatives to smoking, that sends a pretty clear message that something has to be done sooner rather than later.