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CVS Mission craving

DanHunt Protest
CVS sells poison.: News Release
CVS sells poison.: The song
CVS sells poison.: Brief History
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Regulating the FDA Helps Marlboro
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Cancer Doctors Plan Prevention
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Toxic-Tobacco Law in the Journal of the American Medical Association
Philip Morris=Altria
Law Goes 'Round the World


The CVS Sells Poison Project

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Terence A. Gerace, Ph.D.
E-mail: tagerace@aol.com
Phone: (202) 667-6707, X 204 or X 403
Thursday, October 20, 2011

CVS Pharmacy Called On To Make Historic Public Health Announcement

Washington, D.C. — Today, the CVS sells poison.project called on CVS pharmacy to make an historic public health announcement before Christmas 2011 — "CVS will stop advertising, promoting, distributing and selling lethal, addictive cigarettes at its over 7,000 stores."

The announcement could occur during Dr. Troyen Brennan's (CVS's Chief Medical Officer) address at the 25th National Conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital on October 27th 2011 (Boston). Seven facts support this expectation.

First, since October 2009 the CVS sells poison.project has been urging CVS CEOs, its Chief Medical Officer, and Board of Directors to stop selling cigarettes. Second, CVS's leadership, aware that 87 protests have occurred at 17 Washington D.C. CVS stores through October 19, 2011, has not attempted to contradict any of the protests.

Third, the American Medical Association (AMA) and American Pharmacists Association (APhA) have urged CVS to stop selling cigarettes. Daniel A. Hussar, Remington Professor of Pharmacy, proposed the policy adopted by the APhA in 2010 (d.hussar@usp.edu).

Fourth, surveys of pharmacists and pharmacy students, citizen support for banning the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies in California and Massachusetts, and responses by pedestrians during 87 protests show that professionals and the public strongly support CVS's ending its "contradiction".

Fifth, municipalities in California and Massachusetts (e.g., San Francisco and Boston) have outlawed the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and stores with pharmacies. To its credit CVS has not argued against these laws in public hearings. Sixth, Larry Merlo, new CEO, and the Board of Directors have considered all the arguments for ending the sale of cigarettes.

Seventh, in 2011 CVS's public relations department stated, "As a healthcare provider, we acknowledge that the sale of tobacco products in our stores is a challenging issue." And Dr. Brennan responded to a viewer of the CVS sells poison.project music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjpqXQc4tKg) who asked, "Why are pharmacies selling one of the most lethal products? Brennan firmly replied, "This is an issue I am working on."

Taken together these facts strongly suggest that CVS should announce plans to stop selling cigarettes before Christmas 2011. Walgreens and Rite Aid will have to follow suit.

Please visit www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS for more on the CVS sells poison. project.

Fred Mayer, President, Pharmacists Planning Service Inc. (ppsi@aol.com); John O'Hara, President, Maryland Group Against Smoking Pollution (MDGASP@aol.com); John Polito, Founder, WhyQuit.com (johnpolito@comcast.net); and Terence A. Gerace, Sr.,Coordinator, CVS sells poison.project, are active partners in the CVS sells poison. project.

CVS sells poison: The song.

CVS sells poison: The song

Performed by Sofia Roma
Music by Sofia Roma, Lyrics by Terence Gerace, Sr.

Introduction (slow): Selling an addictive substance
While claiming to promote health care,
Something is wrong with this picture
And this conflict we need to share.

A contradiction to its mission,
Cancer, heart attacks aren't funny.
Selling smokes that's no joke
'Cause its goal is making money.

Craving Valued Smokers
That�s what CVS means you see.
Killing valued smokers
By ruining their bronchial trees.

Chorus: CVS sells poison,
Just like the other drug chains,
Distributing cigarettes far and wide,
Causing heart disease, cancer and pain.

Seven thousand stores, five hundred clinics
Casting cigarettes every which way,
Making smokes seem a normal part
Of everyday USA.

CVS can't be best
Selling poison like the rest,
Promoting with pride, assisting suicides,
Can�t hide, can't hide, can't hide.

Chorus: CVS sells poison,
Just like the other drug chains,
Distributing cigarettes far and wide,
Causing heart disease, cancer and pain.

Why is a health care provider
Making cigarettes seem OK,
Like other products in its stores
While knowing smokes take life away?

How can CVS sell poison too
While they are dispensing drugs to you?
Cig'rettes cause strokes and lung disease.
CVS don�t: please, please, please, please, please, please.

Chorus: CVS sells poison,
Just like the other drug chains,
Distributing cigarettes far and wide
Causing heart disease, cancer and pain.
Causing heart disease, cancer and pain.

Brief History: We sent Troyen Brennan, M.D., VP and Chief Medical Officer of CVS, three letters starting in October of 2009 urging him to work on ending the sale of cigarettes at CVS. The rationale for this request can be seen in the letter below. Our last letter indicated that if we did not get a response, we would demonstrate in front of CVS stores in D.C. We still have not received a response.

October 8, 2009

Troyen A. Brennan, MD, JD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, Executive Vice President
CVS Caremark Corporation
One CVS Drive
Woodsocket, RI 02895

Dear Dr. Brennan:

When we learned that you were the Chief Medical Officer of CVS Caremark Corporation, we hoped that we might have a new ally to help strengthen our efforts to reduce the mortality and morbidity caused by cigarettes.

We believe that as a physician you are uniquely qualified to lead CVS Caremark Corporation to its rightful place as a major health care provider that is clearly focused on promoting the health of its customers, rather than continuing its role as a promoter, distributor, and seller of addictive, lethal consumer products.

Having cigarettes prominently displayed among the many health care products in your pharmacies normalizes the use of tobacco and destigmatizes it. Furthermore, your pharmacists are placed in an ambiguous retail environment that both sells poisonous products and products designed to improve the health of customers. We believe that promoting and selling an addictive, lethal product from the most prominent section of your nearly 7,000 stores is not compatible with your company�s mission as a �health care company�.

By refusing to sell cigarettes CVS Caremark Corporation will rightfully earn an extraordinary opportunity to be recognized as a leader in preventive health care in the United States. CVS Caremark Corporation will be making a clear statement to the Nation that good health, health care and cigarettes do not belong under the same roof. This pronouncement will contribute greatly to the continuing denormalization of smoking in American society.

At the same time, the CVS Caremark Corporation will be protecting itself from future liability suits arising from plaintiffs� claiming that CVS collaborated with the tobacco industry to promote and distribute an addictive, lethal product that caused them harm. We do not believe that the CVS Caremark Corporation will be at a competitive disadvantage if it jettisons the sale of cigarettes. Other pharmacies will have to follow suit, or look foolish continuing to call themselves �health care providers� when in fact they are knowingly contributing to the mortality and morbidity of tens of thousands of their customers each year.

We applaud your stellar academic, clinical, executive, and leadership accomplishments at many of the world�s finest institutions including Southern Methodist University, Yale, Oxford, Harvard, the Institute of Medicine, and Brigham and Women�s Hospital. We especially took note of your publications on professional ethics, quality assurance, and the mutually beneficial �social contract� that gives physicians special professional privileges in exchange for their promoting society�s health. Promoting tobacco-free pharmacies owned by CVS Caremark Corporation would be a great contribution to the public health of the United States.

If there is anything we can do to assist you in your consideration of this important public health initiative, please feel free to call on us.

Sincerely yours,

Richard A. Daynard, JD, PhD
Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law;
President, Public Health Advocacy Institute

Terence A. Gerace, Jr., MD
Medical Advisor, Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition

Terence A. Gerace, Sr., EdM, MA, PhD, National Coordinator, Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition, Former Research. Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


DIARY of DEMONSTRATIONS

CVS sells poison: Opening Day, "Nice sign," District Sales Manager.
Day 1, Thursday, May 20, 2010.

I demonstrated from 10:00 a.m. until Noon at the CVS on M St NW near Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.

What we learned:

1. All but one person who remarked about our activity were supportive with comments such as "Keep up the good work." The one negative remark had to do with infringing on personal freedom.

2. More people than we expected did not recognize the Marlboro logo, resulting in 7-10 asking what the poison was. After a quick explanation, all remarked "good idea". We altered our sign for Day 2 by adding a pack of Marlboro to it. The altered sign worked since no one on Day 2 asked what the poison was.

3. You don't need a lot of people demonstrating.

The owner of one restaurant and staff of adjacent restaurants came out to add their support to our efforts. (Maybe they didn't like all the butts that cigarettes bring to the sidewalk in front of their establishments.) Actually the owner wanted to talk about the implementation of the Clean Indoor Air Act.

Within 20 minutes of my arrival, two suits from CVS including the District Sales Manager arrived saying they were just passing by and wanted to know what I was doing. When they introduced themselves at first I thought they said they were from CBS so I thought I was being interviewed. After a few minutes they seemed satisfied that I was a peaceful demonstrator who was looking for a courteous reply to our letters. They went into the store for a few moments and when they exited I offered them a copy of the letter I sent Dr. Brennan and requested their business cards. I received one since the other gentleman said his were in his car. They took the letter and said that they would fax it up the chain of command. Neither gentleman said he recognized the Marlboro logo saying that they did not smoke.

The CVS manager came out later and I told him what I was doing there.

Unintended consequences. A lady came up to me and asked if it were OK for her to go into the store since she needed to pick up some stomach medicine. A laborer also came up to me and wanted to know if CVS carried the bulb he was trying to replace. I also helped several women pushing strollers who were struggling to enter a restaurant. One said, "Nice sign!"

CVS sells poison: Support continues.
Day 2, Friday, May 21, 2010.

All but one person who commented supported our efforts. The negative response referred to the fact that lots of other stores sell cigarettes.

CVS sells poison: "Thank you for doing this."
Day 3, Monday, May 24, 2010.

I demonstrated at a CVS Pharmacy on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown from 9 am until 11 am. All but one of the comments were positive: "I get it", "Thank you for doing this", "Great job".

CVS sells poison: The store manager.
Day 4, Tuesday, May 25, 2010.

I demonstrated in front of another CVS just north of Georgetown on Wisconsin Ave. I didn't encounter any negative reactions with the exception of the store manager's initial approach to me. We had a nice conversation as I both listened to her concerns, showed her the business card from the CVS District Sales Manager, whom she previously worked under, and gave her the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan. She said that she sometimes felt uncomfortable selling cigarettes, but it's a business. She said that some of the diet stuff they sell might be poisonous also. At least two observers took pictures of me with my sign using their cell phones. One nanny said she wished she could join me in this cause. The store employees were very friendly. The male who accompanied the store manager said cigarettes should be available by prescription only. I was also asked "What about Safeway?"

CVS sells poison: So many interesting people.
Day 5, Tuesday, June 1, 2010.

I demonstrated for two hours with above sign in front of CVS in Georgetown DC just across the street from the Four Seasons where heads of state and other big wigs and celebrities stay. Lots of thumbs up and other signs of support. No negative responses unless you count the fact that on this return visit there were signs on the door apologizing for CVS's appearance during renovation. All the identifying marking for CVS were hidden by reversing the signs in the windows so they could only be seen from inside the store. Sort of an extreme reaction to my previous demonstration at that store, don't you think? While baking in the heat I did meet a judge who assisted Judge Kessler for four years in the Department of Justice's case against the toxic-tobacco industry. That's DC for you, so many interesting people.

CVS sells poison: $70 here, $35 in Missouri.
Day 6, Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

My two hour stint was in front of CVS on M St near 29th NW DC. The renovation involved placing self-check-out counters in the window right next to the cigarette shelves. The renovation supervisor was having a cigarette outside when I arrived. He asked if I knew how much a carton cost in DC. He said "$70" and announced that in Missouri it's $35 and his wife would be sending him a resupply. He said I should be protesting the government who was getting most of this money. Along side him was a very knowledgeable street cleaner who said he quit smoking one year ago when he also quit drinking.

A chef from a nearby restaurant came out and told me that he quit smoking about two years ago on the advice of his physician. A woman came by and said that I was "all alone". I told her that I was not alone since so many people were giving me thumbs up or "good idea". She said she supported my effort and was concerned about her children and cigarettes. A young man wanted to know if it were just the Marlboro cigarettes that are poisonous (my sign has a pack of Marlboro attached to it to indicate the "poison" to which we are referring). I emphasized that all cigarettes were poisonous I talked to the manager of CVS, who was having a cigarette, about the renovation.

I overheard someone say, "I don't know, I've only been in town two weeks" so I asked the questioner if I could help. She wanted to know if there were a Victoria Secrets close by. I was able to tell her exactly where the nearest store was. Another lady who said she was going into CVS but not to buy poison exited with nothing and wondered if I knew where she could get postcards to send to family back home. I suggested the Four Seasons Hotel across the street. One woman asked if she could take a picture of the sign and me. George Will, syndicated columnist, came by again, but did not see the sign. The regular panhandler got off his perch and came over to me after so much activity to ask what all these people were saying to me.

CVS sells poison: Gandhi.
Day 7, Monday, June 7, 2010.

A passerby insisted on telling me the virtues of �All natural cigarettes with no additives.� Others repeated �good idea� while some flashed thumbs up or said, �I agree with you there.�

Two gentlemen exited a towncar and asked what this was all about. And another told me that in the small convenience shops located in office buildings venders sell cigarettes without a license. Then I realized all three men looked Indian (from India, remember I�m in Washington DC) and I was wearing my Gandhi t-shirt that my son had given me.

A mom carrying her child remarked enthusiastically, �I like your sign.�

CVS sells poison: Marlboro pack on sign.
Day 8, Wednesday, June 9, 2010.

This was the first overcast, relatively cool day. It was so much easier. When I looked through the window of CVS I could see Tim the CVS District Sales Manager I met 20 minutes after I arrived on the first day of demonstrating. When he came out he came over to say hello. I told him that I saw a nice picture of him on the wall at another CVS and he said that he would be on the wall of this CVS as soon as the renovation is complete. He said that he had faxed to the head office the letter to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, requesting that CVS discontinue selling cigarettes. He said he also forwarded the email that I had sent him.

Tim noticed immediately that I had attached a pack of Marlboros to my sign so that passersby would understand what the �poison� was if they did not recognize the Marlboro logo. He said, �I guess I wasn�t the only one who didn�t recognize the design.� (Something he admitted on Day 1 when he said he did not smoke.) He said that my interactions with passersby probably decreased if they didn�t have to ask me what the sign meant. I agreed with him but told him that my objective was to get the attention of CVS�s leadership and not that of the public.

Some gave the thumbs up and another said, �Keep it up buddy, keep it up.� One shopper said, �they sell good stuff too� to which I said �Buy the good stuff, don�t buy cigarettes.� When he came out he had a new pack of cigarettes along with some good stuff. The renovation in the front of the store is almost complete. The only products that can be seen through the windows from the sidewalk are cigarettes. So much for not promoting cigarettes.

CVS sells poison: One foul-mouthed person.
Day 9, Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

I demonstrated in front of the newly renovated CVS on M Street near 29th St. NW in Georgetown. The very first person I saw coming out of CVS looked at my sign and said, �I agree with that.� I only had one negative person in 1.5 hours of walking back and forth in front of the store. He was the first really foul-mouthed individual I have encountered. He said I should be demonstrating on Capitol Hill (where Congress meets). He said someone must have been paying me to demonstrate. Although it was tempting to react to his taunts, I kept quiet. Needless to say I let him vent and after he finished his cigarette he left. Two women (probably a mother and a 30 something daughter) shortly thereafter came by and said in unison �You are absolutely right; I agree with you.� Two guys asked if they could take my picture with the sign. Of course I said, �Yes�.

CVS sells poison: King/Gandhi playbook.
Day 10, Thursday, June 17, 2010.

This may have been the most interesting day yet. I demonstrated from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. in front of a very busy CVS store on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. There was a lot of pedestrian traffic with a mix of tourists and people going to work. Although there was the usual amount of �Good idea� remarks and thumbs up gestures, I also encountered some hostile outbursts. First, one person sweeping trash from the street repeatedly asked �Why CVS?� This protective attitude observed previously may have to do with CVS being a large employer and provider of goods in DC. Others remarked that �they sell cigarettes everwhere.� (And maybe that�s one of our points). The most hostile actions took place next when a male in his 20s lit up a cigarette and leaned against the front window of CVS in the path in which I had been demonstrating. First he said that �It�s a free country and he could do what he wanted.� He tried to taunt me with his off color language. Then as I passed in front of him he got in my face and puffed smoked at me. This happened at least three times. I didn�t say anything, following my Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./Gandhi playbook. One time he forced himself in my direction as I passed him causing me to veer off my path. At times he offered cigarettes to passers-by. He finally asked me, �Don�t you have anything better to do with your time?� I didn�t answer and he finally left.

Next, out the door came the store manager who immediately told me I couldn�t be in front of his store. I politely explained the rules of demonstrating in DC. I said to him that I have been doing this for some time at other stores with no other objections. I showed him the letter we wrote to Dr. Brennan and explained that we didn�t want to be demonstrating in our own community but the lack of response from CVS left us with no choice.

Later, a 6� 5� or greater security guard with a side arm who was keeping watch on the Bank of America ATMs right next to CVS, came over to me unsolicited. He said he could never understand how a drug store could be in the business of selling cigarettes. We talked for short while and I thanked him for his support. He said, �No problem�. I thought if the tough guy who blew smoke in my face were to resurface, I could call on the security guard.

CVS sells poison: The Australian tourist.
Day 11, Monday, June 21, 2010.

I started demonstrating in front of the CVS on Dupont Circle, Washington, DC at about 7:30 a.m. and stayed until 9:30 when the pedestrian traffic got thin. Although most pedestrians seemed focused on getting to work, some had time to say �you�re right�, �good�, �so true, so true�, and �It�s a nasty poison, 10 of them�. One fellow asked, �What about cigars?� I told him not to inhale and he laughed.

One fellow dressed in a suit and about to enter the store stopped to use his camera phone. I stopped my walking so he could get a clear shot, but he was probably taking a video so I needn�t have stopped. I never saw him come out; he may have been from management?

When one man asked, �What poison?� and I answered, �Cigarettes�, he said, �I�m with you there.� One angry man ranted, �Oh that human freedom, we hate that.�

An Australian tourist asked if what I was doing wasn�t illegal. He said he thought that it would be in Australian. I replied, �Is telling the truth illegal?� He was very knowledgeable about the progressive stance Australia has taken regarding advertising of cigarettes and other marketing schemes, including packaging. He took a number of photos of me and my sign, taking care to get the proper lighting. He asked when I would return and said that he was staying at a hotel close by.

A young high school male approached me and asked if I had another sign. I told him that a second sign was at my home. Then he asked if he could walk with the sign that I was currently using. I gave the sign to him and took a short break while he strolled in front of CVS. The movement has grown again. When the youngster�s friend exited from CVS he said he had to go to school. I thanked him for helping and explained in more detail that CVS had ignored our letters urging the company to stop selling cigarettes.

I got a few �Good for you� remarks and smiles during this span. A National Park Service Ranger emphatically said, �I agree, truly�. Two high school age females who understood the sign walked down the street singing, �CVS sells poison, CVS sells poison�.

I also acted as the doorman for appreciative milk and Pepsi deliverymen who entered through the front door of CVS.

CVS sells poison: "You should give up."
Day 12, Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

I got a strong �Yes it does, yes it does. Good work.� from a lady reading the �CVS sells poison� sign on her way to work. I also received from a male smoker, �So does Giant, so does Safeway and every other place. Why CVS?�

I got a few positive head shakers and smiles. The street cleaning ladies returned, one saying, �Are you here again? You should give up.�

Another female asked, �What are they?� and when I answered �cigarettes� she said, �Good for you.�

A female peered out the window of a city bus and snapped a picture of the sign and me.

CVS sells poison: Boyfriend worked for Altria, a.k.a. Philip Morris.
Day 13, Monday, June 28, 2010.

About 5 minutes after I started demonstrating in front of the CVS store in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. the manager (I think) stuck his head out of the door, looked my way and then retreated back into the store. On his way out a patron of the store barked, �You need a bigger sign; they sell all kinds of poison, like rat poison and food.�

�That�s a great idea. Why are they selling cigarettes at this point in time?� said another male patron exiting the store.

I stopped while another pedestrian positioned his camera phone for a picture. He said his boyfriend worked for Altria (a.k.a. Philip Morris) and he thought he might need my picture.

My son, the doctor, stopped by to give me support and remind me that I was soaked in perspiration and needed to properly hydrate myself. It was humid and about 87 degrees in the direct sun.

A fellow who looked like the manager came out the front door quickly and passed me by. He had a load of keys hanging from his belt as managers so often do, but he didn�t have his nametag on. He disappeared down the street and about 10 minutes later reappeared at the front door of the CVS store. He didn�t go past me to get back to the door. This meant that he went all the way around a very large block in the heat to get back to the door without having to pass by me again. He was carrying what looked like coffee and a crumbled up white coat (maybe he was the pharmacist?) I was planning on talking to him if he had passed in front of me.

Just before I left, the T-shirt vendor said that we should ban the manufacturing of all cigarettes.

CVS sells poison: "Then don't buy them IDIOT."
Day 14, Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

Finally a cool day in the low 70s. I arrived at the CVS on M Street near 29th Street NW Washington DC about 9:00 a.m. and stayed until 10:30 a.m. It was a very quiet day. The panhandler agreed. One lady said as she entered CVS, �I don�t smoke.�

Another lady, white haired and grumpy said to me, �Then don�t buy them. IDIOT! (I think she was calling me an idiot). I just smiled. Another, obviously more thoughtful, lady said, �I agree with you.� Then the panhandler saw me writing something in my notebook and so he ambled over to me asking, �What are you writing?� I told him that I was writing what people said to me so I could put in on our website. I told him that I also mentioned him favorably on the website. He smiled.

CVS sells poison: Too hot to respond.
Day 15, Wednesday, July 7, 2010.

Shortly after I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS (Washington, DC) I spotted two men in matching shirts laughing near the entrance to the store. They quickly ducked around the corner of the building out of view. I thought one of them looked like the manager who told me I couldn�t do what I was doing on the first day that I demonstrated in front of his store. A few minutes later I saw them talking again as they entered the store. I didn�t see them again.

As the temperature climbed to 90 degrees on its way to 100+, the most supporters could muster were head nods (up and down) and smiles. Although as the time approached 9:50 a.m., a female passerby said, �Great sign!�

There were lots of families with children who got to see the message that cigarettes are poison and that �CVS sells poison.� My son and wife warned me about the code red weather conditions so I acceded to their wishes and only ran 20 minutes this morning and demonstrated for just one hour. It was just 90 degrees when I left my station for home. I did live in South Florida for nearly 30 years.

CVS sells poison: Lady with the nose ring, "You can't do this in front of CVS."
Day 16, Friday, July 9, 2010.

Shortly after I posted up (8:54 a.m.) at the Dupont Circle CVS (Washington, DC), the T-shirt vender asked if I would keep an eye on his wares while he went to the restroom. I said, �Sure.� He returned finishing off a breakfast sandwich.

A young lady with a nose ring politely approached carrying a lighted cigarette. She said, �I see you out here a lot, can I ask you some questions?� (I think it is funny that her perception is that I�m there frequently.) She suggested that I should be angry with CVS for selling brand named drugs at exorbitant prices and for some other reason I don�t remember. I said that I agreed with her, but the sign could only cover a limited number of complaints. Besides I couldn�t demonstrate for all important causes at the same time. She also wanted to know if I was concerned only about Marlboro Blend No. 27 (the pack on my sign) being poison. I said, �All cigarettes.� She said, �Everyone knows that cigarettes are bad.� I said, �A lot of young people don�t.�

�It�s right on the pack,� she replied. I said, �You have to buy them first before you see the warning.� After an extended conversation, she said seemingly sincerely, �Good luck.�

A CVS worker taking a smoking break called to me from the front entrance. She said, �You can�t do this in front of CVS.� I told her I could and that I had been doing this for some time, even at her store. I showed her the CVS business card I had to indicate that others in the organization were quite aware of the demonstration. She said that she hadn�t received an email to indicate that I was going to be there. She wondered if I have a license to demonstrate. I told her �I have everything I need to be here.� She replied that she was going to get her boss. An hour went by before I left, never seeing her again, but I may have seen her boss sneak around the corner near the entrance to grab a smoke.

The T-shirt vendor came over to me to find out what the CVS employee had said.

As the temperature climbed to a very humid 83 degrees, most of the positive responses were of the energy conserving nods and smile variety.

One angry young man reacted to my sign (CVS sells poison) with �So does McDonalds!� as he quick stepped away to light up a cigarette in record time.

CVS sells poison: "And it's a darn good thing they do man."
Day 17, Monday, July 12, 2010.

I started a little earlier than usual, about 7:54 a.m. The T-shirt vendor hadn�t even arrived yet. The first verbal response to my �CVS sells poison� sign was �Who don�t?� followed by loud laughter.

Next, a man in a suit pulling his suitcase on wheels said, �That�s good. That�s good.� Later the manager of the CVS store quickly exited the doorway and came back a few minutes later with a coffee cup in each hand. He maneuvered himself through the door before I could assist him. I think he was glaring at me.

A 72 year old man who said he walked 5 miles a day engaged me in conversation. He said it was the individual�s responsibility when it came to smoking and that everyone knew that cigarettes were bad. First I pointed out that not everyone knows the dangers of smoking; that each generation has to be taught the truth about smoking. I also pointed out that I wasn�t attempting to stop people from smoking. I said that the heads of CVS were individuals who had a responsibility as leaders of one of the world�s largest health care companies not to sell injurious products. He didn�t see CVS as a health care company. When I told him that they run 500 clinics across the United States he took note. He said he meant no offense and only wanted to understand what I was advocating.

The young lady with the nose ring returned but didn�t engage me in conversation. She just smiled and waved her lit cigarette. It smelled pretty good. A young lady in a Washington University of St. Louis sweatshirt asked if she could take a picture of the sign and me before she went into the CVS. I posed. Next, a young man flashing lighted cigarettes in response to my �CVS sells poison.� sign barked, �And it�s a darn good thing they do man.� As the temperature reached 84 degrees with high humidity, I left my walking post with my shirt nearly saturated with sweat after learning that the T-shirt vender was putting his four children through college in Virginia.

CVS sells poison: "In France, we don't sell cigarettes in this kind of store."
Day 18, Tuesday, July 13, 2010.

Finally an overcast day; the temperature only reached 77 degrees during the time (8:36 a.m.- 9:45 a.m.) I demonstrated at the Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) CVS. I immediately saw a young CVS employee exit her store, pass me and we said, �Hello.� She ducked into a false doorway where I think she smoked a cigarette. I didn�t want to disturb her so I stayed away. Later in the morning I saw her outside again and she was talking to someone and clearly smoking. A lady then approached me and asked if I spoke Spanish. I directed her to the address she had for a podiatrist on Massachusetts Avenue across Dupont Circle.

A guy came over to me and my sign and said, �I was trying (from inside the store) to see what you�re talkin� about. I didn�t see it when I went in.� He had a giant smile on his face. Today was the first day that I noticed I could see in the store from the sidewalk. Some of the window trimming had been removed.

One fellow went by and responded to my sign saying, �You ain�t kiddin�.� while another queried, �What is it you�re not happy about?� as he strained his neck to see the full sign with the cigarette pack attached. Then he said, �That�s cool.� Then I gave directions to an uniformed female who was looking for a specific liquor store. Next, a tall young man dressed for business with a slight non-American accent said that he agreed with my position and asked for permission to take a picture of the sign and me. I said he would get my permission even if he did not agree with my position. I asked where he was from and he said, �France. In France, we don�t sell cigarettes in this kind of store.� Since I don�t have any pictures of this project, I asked him if he would kindly send the picture to my email address which was printed on the letter that we sent to Dr. Brennan (CVS VP) which I gave him. He smiled and said that he�d be happy to send the picture to me. In contrast, another fellow flaunting his cigarette asked me, �Want a cigarette?�

CVS sells poison: One unintended consequence.
Day 19, Monday, July 19, 2010.

It was 78 degrees, sunny and humid when I arrived at the Dupont Circle, Washington, DC CVS at 7:58 a.m. Two large delivery trucks, one Coke and one Pepsi, were parked along the street while servicing the CVS. The only verbal response to my �CVS sells poison� sign came from a large male passerby with female companion who said, �So does everybody else.� Then he really laughed out loud. He should only know how many times I�ve heard some version of that line. The non-verbal reactions came in the form of an emphatic double head nod up and down and a very strong �thumbs up�.

I noticed three children, two girls and a boy, around the ages of 11 or 12 standing with a young man wearing a small hat. I could hear one of the girls motioning toward the other girl saying, �CVS sells poison.� Unfortunately, I was too far away to hear any more of the conversation, but I was able to see that the topic remained about CVS especially when they looked back at the sign just before crossing the streets. My general impression, although I have no data, is that many young people (mostly tourists) note the sign and often bring the message to their parents� attention. If one unintended consequence of this project is to remind children and parents that cigarettes are poison, that is a good thing. The temperature had hit 82 degrees at 9:30 a.m. when I left my post.

CVS sells poison: "Cigarettes suck."
Day 20, Wednesday, July 21, 2010. It was 90 degrees at 12:10 p.m. when I arrived at the Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. CVS. I decided to come at this hour because the security guard at the ATM machines told me that the number of pedestrians is greatest during the lunch hour. He was right; there was a constant stream of people passing near the CVS. A mother with three children said, "That�s funny," as she viewed the "CVS sells poison sign".

If I stood near the door (about two cement sidewalk squares away) I found that I could get a refreshing draft of cold air as people exited CVS. I also discovered that just over my left shoulder attached to the front of CVS was a "No Loitering" sign. I certainly wasn�t loitering.

One of the CVS workers exited and crossed the street to smoke a cigarette. Then a young woman politely asked me if she could take a picture of the sign and me. Of course I said, "Sure." and thanked her.

A smoker lit up a cigarette and parked in the path I had been marching. I did not challenge him for the space. For the first time someone used his eyebrows to express his approval.

A young man with an athletic bag and gloves used for a punching bag said, "Got that right. Don�t move." I was only a few feet from the entrance of the CVS at the time. Unconvincingly a youngster said, "I like poisons."

One young lady used both of her hands in gesturing positively. Despite the fact that I now have a hard pack of Marlboros on the front and back of the sign, I was asked, "What poison?"

A CVS worker wearing a white coat exited the front door of CVS. I said, "Hello" and she replied in kind. The T-shirt vendor told me later that she was a pharmacist assistant. Next a young man walked by quickly and said, "Cigarettes suck." Then in quick succession I heard "I agree with you," "I agree with you man," and "You're right about that." Finally a young high schooler loudly stated, "CVS sells poison."

At 1:10 p.m. it was 92 degrees and I took my soaked shirt and self home.

CVS sells poison: "Why CVS?"
Day 21, Monday, July 26, 2010.

I arrived at 7:58 a.m. at the Dupont Circle, Washington D.C. CVS, before the T-shirt vendor and ATM guard arrived. I was in charge. Not too hot, 74 degrees.

An elderly lady looked me in the sign and angrily said, "It's a lot more than cigarettes that they sell." Then she marched on. The Pepsi delivery man accepted my offer to hold the door for him as he unloaded.

I overheard what appeared to be a father referring to me say, "Is this the kind of protest �?" I wish I could have heard the rest of the conversation as they walked away. A woman appeared to take of picture of the sign and me as she approached. She didn't ask permission and quickly lowered her phone. I noticed that a lot of people talk out load to themselves as they absorb the "CVS sells poison." sign.

A guy bicycling to work asked if my sign (with the Marlboro packs on the front and back) was just referring to Marlboro as poison. I assured him that the sign was referring to all cigarettes. He looked relieved.

I offered to open the door for the Coke delivery guy, but he declined the offer. The Pepsi guy who was parked in front of him got angry because he thought the Coke guy had parked too close to the rear end of his truck so that he couldn't attach his hand truck. After the Pepsi guy moved his truck forward so he could connect his hand truck, the Coke guy approached me saying "Why cigarettes?" (I think he needed to talk to someone after his confrontation with the Pepsi guy.) He said that obesity is a problem, foods are a problem (Aren't the toxic-tobacco companies glad to hear people moving on to something else?) and that people thought that smoking was cool. I mentioned the reduction in smoking rates over the years and that most people who smoke get addicted as youngsters. He said the cool kids smoked when he was in college, but that he was a jock so he didn't smoke.

Immediately following this conversation a man approached me wondering, "Why CVS? And what about the others stores like Seven Eleven?" I said that these stores don't claim to be health care providers. They don't have over 7,000 stores and 500 clinics claiming to provide health care when they are widely distributing and selling a lethal and addictive substance. He said, "Because they're a drug store selling cigarettes? I get it."

CVS sells poison: "Haven't they arrested you yet?"
Day 22, Wednesday, July 28, 2010.

I arrived at 8:15 a.m. with the temperature at 78 degrees and very humid. It was a bustling morning in Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. in front of CVS with patrons going in and out. I was getting so many smiles from passersby that I created a category on my notepad to keep track with tally marks. But I eventually gave up trying to get the pad out of my pocket fast enough to record. I have never mentioned all the stuff required to conduct this demonstration: first the "CVS sells poison" sign, the letters to Dr. Brennan, CVS VP and Chief Medical Officer, used as a brochure, pad for taking notes, pen, reading glasses, sun glasses, wallet, watch, ID bracelet, and handkerchief.

So the day started with a nice smile from an approaching lady, then another lady dressed in a pants suit attached to collie like dog cheerfully said, "Nice sign." Not long after an older lady with a French accent stared at the sign and angrily said, "The entire food industry is poison." Somehow my presence allows for cathartic outbursts on a number of topics unrelated to lethal cigarettes. Maybe a positive unintended consequence of this effort?

A guy came by and gave our effort a thumbs up as did another who gave the first "triple thumbs up" known to have occurred in front of a CVS on Dupont Circle. I did receive an ambiguous smirk next.

Then out of the blue a young fellow was standing in front of me offering me a bottle of juice he had just purchased from CVS. I must have looked a bit puzzled because he said, "You can use it in an hour when you get tired." I thanked him very much for his kindness, but told him that I had just eaten. I probably should have just accepted the kind gift even though my hands were filled.

A little boy came by and asked his father if those were matches on my sign and the father replied, "No, those are cigarettes."

A panhandler came by and set up business not too far from the front door of CVS near to my demonstrating route. I gave him a dollar bill to stimulate the passersby. He said both of his parents had made a New Year resolution to quit smoking but went back to smoking after a week of cessation. He also remarked that second hand smoke was bad too. I noticed that he coughed quite a bit. He later asked me if I was with a particular organization, and so did the T-shirt vendor a little while later. The vendor also asked whether I was getting paid. I told him that everyone involved so far have been volunteers.

The assistant pharmacist from CVS walked by but made no comment. Then two fellows went by, one saying to the other, "A lot of other places sell poison." Somehow I think the ubiquitous nature of cigarettes in some peoples' minds means it's OK to sell an addictive lethal substance in a health care facility.

At 9:45 a.m. with the temperature at 81 degrees and my back soaked, I proceeded home. While stopped at a traffic light a woman standing next to me poked at my sign and repeated, "Good for you." three times. I told her we were trying to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes and that today was my 22nd day demonstrating. She replied, "Haven't they arrested you yet." I said that I hadn't done anything wrong.

CVS sells poison: "You should give us some way to object."
Day 23, Monday, August 2, 2010.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle Washington, D.C. CVS on an overcast day about 7:58 a.m. The temperature was 73 degrees. The first guy I heard from said, "We're going in to get our poison." Shortly thereafter a man in a tie and suspenders affirmed, "Yes it does," referring to my sign that says "CVS sells poison."

Then a lady stopped to talk. First she remarked that the Marlboro pack on my sign was from Philip Morris which had moved from New York City to Richmond. She said that her mother had had Stage 1 cancer and was successfully treated. She was happy to report that her mother had quit smoking and drinking after her diagnosis and that her father never smoked. She encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing. After engaging me for awhile she walked to the corner away from where I was standing, but then she returned to continue her story and further support my efforts.

A fellow went by and remarked, "Do they still sell that crap in there?" Another fellow who seemed like a diplomat with his dark suit and non-American accent approached the ATM machines nearby and asked me, "So what do they do?" to which I replied, "Sell cigarettes." He said, "I just wanted to be clear."

I received a positive (I think) eye brow response and then a positive head nod.

I'm beginning to recognize some of the persons who smoke and go by regularly. A lady went by with two children and a man, and said, "Thank you." Then I received a head nod accompanied by "Terrible."

A man in medical scrubs came out of CVS; he was carrying a lit cigarette. Next, a woman who was smoking looked at my sign and began to turn the corner in front of CVS. Just before she turned the corner she turned her head over her shoulder and looked backward at the sign once more.

A woman in her sixties with matching hiking outfit and backpack stopped to ask what my effort was all about. She was very supportive when she heard, and wanted to know if we wanted her to boycott CVS. I told her our objective was to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes to which she urged, "You should give us someway to object." I replied that that might be our next step and thanked her for her encouragement. Then another person and another smile. Next a woman with a smoking male partner walked by me and quipped, "No more cigarettes?" Then a young girl went by and she presented a nice smile and head nod. A couple more smiles went by including what appeared from their resemblance a mother and daughter smiling in unison as they looked at the sign and exited the CVS front door.

Wow, when I left at 9:30 a.m. it was only 75 degrees. It was a cool day.

CVS sells poison: "No kidding. It killed my dad and brother."
Day 24, Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS in Washington D.C. at 8:02 a.m. It was very humid and 77 degrees. The first guy I saw smiled and nodded approval. Other nods and smiles crossed in front of the CVS. Then a lady approaching the nearby ATMs shouted out in response to my "CVS sells poison" sign, "No kidding. It killed my dad and brother."

Then the street cleaning lady who had said in the past, " You should give up," passed in front of me. I said, "Hello" and so did she. She continued on down the street.

"And at reasonable prices too," joked a young man in response to my sign. He was smoking and gave a cigarette to the panhandler sitting on a plastic crate at the corner of the CVS store on Dupont Circle. The panhandler quickly lit up using a butane lighter. I had never seen this panhandler before. He definitely was loitering, but was not made to leave his post. He left his spot before I ended my shift saying, "This is not working out." He did bum a second cigarette from someone before he left and smoked it.

A messenger on a bicycle speeded by, turned his head back towards me and sharply said, "You got that s**t right." Affirmations come in all forms. Then someone joked, "You wouldn't happen to have a cigarette?" Then a guy gave that classic line, "A lot of places do." But those places don't claim to be medical clinics (500) and major health care providers (over 7,000 stores).

"I agree," said a male passerby. Then I think I heard someone say, "The cancer is free." Another guy on a bicycle went by and yelled out, "I agree." He then flashed a "thumbs up" to make sure I got his message. Before I could jot this down on my pad, my pen exploded as I tried to click the pen point into writing position. The top separated from the bottom and the cartridge flew out with the spring. Fortunately it was getting close to 9:30 a.m., the time I planned to leave CVS. The last guy to approach me before I left at 9:32 a.m. told me that pharmacies in Canada had stopped selling cigarettes about 5 years ago. He said it was very strange for pharmacists to be in the healing arts and be selling cigarettes. It was 80 degrees when I left and still very humid. I told the T-shirt vendor and ATM security guard that they were now in charge.

CVS sells poison: "Great sign. Got me to stop."
Day 25, August 10, 2010.

I landed in front of the Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. CVS/Pharmacy at 7:49 a.m. on a humid and hot 79 degree day, expected to reach 100 degrees. I immediately got a timid laugh from the first twenty something female to pass by. Then she looked back at my sign as she crossed the street. In a short time she came back and began to ask me a series of questions about what my objectives were and why I was in this location. She asked in what appeared to be a British accent if I were part of a bigger organization. She requested permission to take my picture. I, off course, posed immediately. Then she said, "You must really have interesting conversations with the people who come by." I said, "Just like the one I just had with you." She smiled and said that she was going to write about this experience on her blog. I gave her the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS last October. Another smile went by.

A fellow came over to talk and ask questions about what I was attempting to accomplish. He also wanted to know which organization I was representing. "What about Walgreens and Rite-Aid," he queried. He concluded with, "Great sign. Got me to stop." I thanked him for his kind words. Then another guy came by and said, "I agree." Following him I heard, "Right on man," accompanied by a firm thumbs up. Next, a guy snuffed out his cigarette on the front of CVS before entering the front. I saw him later smoking the conserved cigarette after he exited the store. Another person immediately lit up his cigarette as he exited CVS. A thumbs up twice occurred for the first time presented by a woman.

Looking at my "CVS sells poison" sign, a customer protested, "That's not true," as he entered the front door. In contrast next came a big positive smile. A woman, probably in her forties, slowly shook her head "No" in response to my sign. After a few minutes she came out of CVS smoking a cigarette. One of the street and sidewalk cleaning ladies came out of CVS with a new pack of Marlboro menthol cigarettes. (I thought about how long she'd have to work for that $6.85 pack. She was in her uniform and disappeared down the street leaving behind her supplies. Two of her coworkers (one may have been her supervisor) came looking for the absent smoker. One said, "Did she hop on the Metro?" Eventually they all returned together. Another "Right" was heard.

It was 83 degrees and I was soaked when I left at 9:20 a.m., just as the T-shirt vendor arrived.

CVS sells poison: "My father died of heart disease from smoking."
Day 26, Thursday, August 12, 2010.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. CVS at 8:32 a.m., right after a tremendous thunderstorm. The temperature was a cool 70 degrees. The first person I saw smiled and nodded positively. Then a guy went by laughing out loud. A mom with her brood smiled. It seems that moms use the occasion of seeing my sign to warn their children about smoking.

A white-haired man dressed in a suit exited CVS and angrily said, "People buy it." His index finger pointed upward. Then a CVS employee with packages in his hand started a lengthy conversation with me. He indicated that quitting cigarettes was very hard and that we should pray to God to help people who smoke. He suggested that I needed God's help in my efforts. I didn't express my religious beliefs, but urged him to pray to help those people who were smoking. He didn't say anything about CVS.

Then a female CVS employee came out the front door to smoke a cigarillo. She was accompanied by someone in management who was describing cross training opportunities to her. They both stood right in front of the "no loitering" sign, my favorite spot, for at least 10 minutes. They're lucky that they didn't get picked up for loitering. I held my sign higher than usual so that they wouldn't block it from view.

Two ladies raised their eyebrows when looking at the sign. One of them also smiled. "Thanks for reminding me," said a twenty something guy while entering the CVS store. I'm not sure that he was being sincere, although he did come out of the store without any visible cigarettes.

Next, a lady getting ready to cross the street yelled out, "My father died of heart disease from smoking." She said that she was terribly allergic to cigarette smoke. She wanted to know where I was from; she said that she was from Michigan. She knew of Ron Davis, the late anti-tobacco doctor. His parents live in her neighborhood. I thanked her for telling me her story. While we talked a young woman videotaped us.

A neatly dressed man in a suit inquired about whether I was suggesting that Marlboros were the only poison. I made my case against all cigarettes and he smilingly said that he never smoked any cigarettes. I got another smile from a passerby. Then a second CVS employee came out to smoke. He looked desperate for his first drag. He went around the corner to finish his smoke. A not too clean looking fellow came from across the street and bent over to rescue a butt laying in the street. He scooped it up on the first try.

I felt like I saw a lot of people smoking today. Why of course, I was standing in front of a pharmacy that sells cigarettes.

At 10:02 a.m. it was 73 degrees and exceedingly humid. I left my post as the T-shirt vendor arrived to my greeting.

CVS sells poison: "Put 'em all up."
Day 27, Monday, August 16, 2010.

I arrived at the CVS/Pharmacy on Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. at 8:08 a.m. It was sunny, very humid and 75 degrees in the shade. Just before landing at my post near the front door of CVS, I gave directions to a twenty something New York female who was on her way to Chinatown. She wanted to walk. Giving directions to visitors seems to be part of my job.

The first man I encountered said, "Got a match?" I smiled. Next, a topless male runner ran by, flashed the thumbs up sign, and stated, "You got that right," in response to my "CVS sells poison" sign. A man in a dark suit came out the front door with two cigarette packs in his hand. Then a tall lean fellow came out smacking his new cigarette pack repeatedly against his palm. He did it so hard that I could hear the sound. I didn't think people did that any more. Maybe he was mad after seeing me at the door. Then he went inside CVS again and quickly came out smoking.

"Yes they do," said another passerby. A gray haired man exited his SUV, leaving it near the curb in a "no parking" zone right in front of CVS. He went in for a short time. When he came out he stood by the driver's side door exposed to traffic yelling at me, "Put Camels up there too," referring to the fact that I only had a Marlboro pack on my sign. He followed up with, "Put 'em all up."

Later a doctor from the Association of American Medical Colleges stopped by to encourage our efforts. He told me that when he was a medical student he and his friends used to stamp cigarette vending machines in bars with three Os standing for Out Of Order. When I told him that we had sent letters to the Chief Medical Officer of CVS asking him to urge his company to stop distributing cigarettes, this doctor offered to send a similar letter on his own stationery. He gave me his business card and I'll send him Dr. Brennan's address.

I then overheard two women talking; one said that "everyday it gets a little better, or it gets a little worse." I thought she might have been talking about quitting cigarettes.

Then a young woman on a bicycle rode by, turned back and said, "That's right." An UTZ snack food delivery truck parked in front of CVS and the drive, perhaps from Southeast Asia, yelled out the window, "I like your sign and you're right too."

Dr. Laurel Cappa stopped by to offer some encouragement. She said that she had been following my adventures on the Internet. She mentioned some of the important anti-tobacco activities going on internationally.

I left at 9:38 a.m. with my shirt soaked. It was 79 degrees in the shade and very humid.

CVS sells poison: "I was going to buy some cigarettes, but you scared me."
Day 28, Thursday, August 19, 2010.

The clock on the far side of Dupont Circle said 8:14 a.m. when I arrived at CVS. The temperature was 72 degrees and sunny. Passersby were charged up this morning; I could hardly retrieve my notepad from my breast pocket fast enough to record all their comments. An ambulance tried to get around the circle with its siren blaring, followed by a squatty fire engine emitting a piercing wail.

A man in a bright red T-shirt raised his eye brows, smiled and said, "It's true," in response to my "CVS sells poison" sign. Then a lady exited CVS and remarked, "Good point."

"Yes, they sell lots of poison, bottles of poison," a lady walking by with another female yelled angrily. The panhandler, sitting quietly not even shaking his plastic glass, bummed a cigarette from a passerby. Another guy smiled after reading the sign. A woman who could have been her walking partner's mother said out loud, "Pharmacies selling cigarettes, it's crazy." A male passerby then took a picture with his camera phone. He did not ask permission as have most of the others who have taken pictures. I didn't mind. A runner than coasted by nodding his head in approval.

A CVS employee then emerged from the front door, looked around, took a few strides down the sidewalk, went back to the front of the store, looked around some more and then entered the front door. It seemed like lots of CVS employees were going in and out the front door today. No one said hello to me. And the street cleaning lady was back. She definitely didn't say hello to me. She should be thankful I'm around. I think there are fewer butts for her to pick up since I started my demonstration. A large lumbering man came by and gave me a "thumbs up" sign. I thanked him.

A food delivery truck pulled right up to the curb in front of CVS and me. The driver while unloading took a few drags on a cigarette and then dropped the remainder near the curb. When he moved his supplies into the store, the panhandler quickly scooted over to the butt and retrieved it for himself.

As often happens a father seemed to be explaining the sign to his little girl as they entered CVS. "Would you happen to have a cigarette," joked a perky female passerby. More formerly I heard, "I see, sir." A male jogger nodded his head three times to show his agreement. And then our first standing ovation from a female runner who clapped as she passed our sign with a companion.

Coming out of CVS a senior male approached me and said, "I was going to buy some cigarettes, but you scared me." It should only be that easy to help people quit smoking. In the shortest exchange of the morning, one lady said, "True." Next a man with a camera (yes, people still use them) asked for permission to take a picture. He even posed me.

Then in succession, I received a smile, "You are right," "that's freedom of speech," "I thank you so much," questions from an elderly man who missed seeing the Marlboro packs on my sign, but was very supportive when he understood, and another smile.

At 9:45 a.m. I departed tired, but looking forward to Day 29 next week. I wonder if there is a Guiness Book of Records entry for the greatest number of days demonstrating in front of a corporation that claims to provide health care while collaborating with the toxic-tobacco industry to distribute its lethal, addictive products.

CVS sells poison: "Do you have a cigarette?"
Day 29, August 23, 2010.

I started picketing at 7:50 a.m. on a Monday with passersby seriously rushing to work on the sidewalk in front of the Dupont Circle CVS/Pharmacy in Washington, D.C. The temperature was a relatively cool 73 degrees. The first person I encountered looked at my "CVS sells poison" sign, walked a few steps and turned around to look at it again. This has happened many times before. A CVS employee finished his cigarette before entering the store. I think he works in the pharmacy section. "You are right about that," said a young woman while entering CVS.

And then a man in a neat tan T-shirt approached me and asked, "I'm curious, why CVS? I'm from out of town."

I replied that "CVS had 500 medical clinics and 7,000 stores and claimed to be a major health care provider, yet it was one of the widest distributors of cigarettes in the country. So, we decided to start with them."

He said, "I get it."

"Oh, cigarettes!" said a lady with an accent as she deciphered my sign. Then came a nice smile entering CVS. A lady with her family laughed as she glanced at the sign while entering the store. Later, I saw her checking out her passport in front of the door to CVS.

Eye brows raised to the sign again. "Everybody does," snorted a guy, followed by another smile. "I love that (sign)," cheered a fellow as he clapped. A young woman added, "Cigarettes."

Another passerby remarked, "They're suppose to save your life." Two guys stuck in the traffic flashed joint smiles. A woman smiled as she went by on foot. Then from another car I heard, "You're right."

At 9:20 a.m. it was 75 degrees and I left my post crossing the street into the circle. A woman coming towards me asked, "Is that a cigarette pack?" pointing to my sign.

I said, "Yes."

And she said, "Do you have a cigarette?"

CVS sells poison: "Good luck, man."
Day 30, Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

It was a cool 68 degrees at 8:09 a.m. when I arrived at the Dupont Circle Washington, D.C. CVS/Pharmacy. The sidewalk near the front door of CVS was occupied during my entire stay. School opened this week for District of Columbia pubic school students and Dupont Circle is a key connecting point between buses and the subway system. I received a big smile, and then a smile accompanied by raised eyebrows as my sign was first spotted. One female and one male high school student laughed as they passed in front of my sign. Then three high school girls entered CVS saying proudly, "We're not smokers."

A large police officer parked his squad car by the curb in front of me. We acknowledged each other. I noted that when he came out he didn't seem to have purchased cigarettes.

I received a positive nod from big man in a tan suit. Then a young fellow approached me and asked if I were just concerned about Marlboro cigarettes. I assured him that we were concerned about the health consequences of all cigarettes. He said, "What about alcohol?" I recall saying something about "moderate" use of alcohol being OK. And then he closed with, "I like alcohol," and stepped into CVS. When he came out of CVS without cigarettes he said, "Good luck man."

Another smile passed by followed by "I agree, stay away from those things." Then a car in the circle two lanes away from me honked to get my attention. The driver and passengers looked like they were wearing scrubs. A passerby flashed a smile accompanied by raised eyebrows. Next, someone said, "Good morning," and I replied in kind. The next smile turned into a laugh. When I moved out of my favorite spot, the "No Loitering" sign area right next to CVS's front door, two guys plopped their luggage down while one of them went inside. Fortunately, they weren't there for too long a period. A guy in shorts wearing a baseball cap said, "I don't smoke either." A lady entered CVS smiling and nodding positively. As I checked the stalled traffic in the circle, I spotted a cab driver looking out his open window and presenting a big white toothed smile. As she entered CVS a woman struck a negative smirk, the only one I detected today. Another woman smiled while exiting the store.

A young woman queried, "Is this an advertisement?" I assured her it wasn't. Three ladies broke into simultaneous grins as they entered CVS. Then a young male approached me and said that I needed to add cross bones to my sign to make it clearer from a distance. I thanked him for his tips. A lady who was pregnant gave me a smile. A CVS employee with a badge stepped out the front door, looked around, maybe to check me out, and then retreated into the store without a word.

A forty something male in shorts came over to me to say that it just wasn't right for CVS to provide cancer medication while helping to cause it by selling cigarettes. He said that he was very glad that I was doing what I was doing. He related that he works across the street from the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and marvels at the addictive power of nicotine when he sees patients outside hooked up to IVs while smoking. I thanked him for coming by. A guy entered CVS while smiling. Another guy, this one wearing a suit and carrying coffee, also smiled after seeing the sign. A strong positive nod by a guy followed. Coming around the corner, a female flashed a smile. I could hear one of two parents say, "CVS sells poison," as they walked hand in hand with their little boy. A dismounted bicyclist walking his bike added, "It's true."

It was still cool at 9:39 a.m. when I wished the T-shirt vendor and ATM security guard a good day. The T-shirt vendor said that he was being blessed with good weather while fasting during Ramadan.

CVS sells poison: "That's poison too."
Day 31, Monday, August 31, 2010.

I arrived at 8:08 a.m. outside the CVS/Pharmacy on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The temperature was 73 degrees and the sky cloudless. A high school aged boy with a baseball cap on (peak in the front; I think that's coming back) laughed as he entered the front door of CVS. Then a man rolling his suitcase behind him looked at the sign, walked a few more steps and turned his head around to look again as he passed the front door. The first thumbs up of the day came with a smile as a lady strolled towards the front door of CVS. All this occurred after about nine minutes into my stay. Things seemed very quiet this morning. I think lots of people were out of town for the last holiday of the summer.

A woman looked at the sign, walked a couple more steps, and then turned to view the sign again. What could she be thinking? A guy with a cap passed shaking his head signaling "No" I think. A lady exited the front door and passed in front of me with an unlit cigarette perched precariously in her lips. Dressed in a green shirt and tan shorts, a man did the double look sequence to the sign. A young girl about 11 years old with a friend did the same thing. A guy accompanied by a woman gave a positive nod and a thumbs up gesture.

A lady veering into the entrance of CVS pointed to the Pepsi delivery truck and angrily proclaimed, "That's poison too." She didn't stick around to talk.

Then the T-shirt vendor said he had to go into CVS and asked if I would keep an eye on his booth. While he was in CVS I watched a man check out some of the vendor's ties. The man left to go into CVS just as the vendor returned. I told the vendor what happened and the vendor yelled to the potential customer as he entered CVS. When he came out of CVS the man said to me close up with a big grin, "You mean cigarettes; I don't smoke." And then he marched back to the vendor's booth and bought a tie.

I moved away from in front of the "NO LOITERING" sign near the front door for a moment so that I was not loitering. Before I returned to my favorite spot a large fellow and his bicycle occupied it. I jokingly said to him that he had taken my best spot. Without question he kindly moved just to the right of the "NO LOITERING" sign to make room for me. He told me that a female friend of his about 50 years old had just been found dead in an alley from a drug overdose. And his uncle had also recently died. He asked me how much I got paid for carrying the sign. He may not have been literate and thought I was holding an advertisement for CVS. I told him that we were trying to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes. He said in a questioning manner, "They make a lot of money from selling cigarettes?" I told him that 85% of their revenue is from selling drugs and running prescription management benefit programs.

A lady gave a positive head nod followed by an elderly couple (man and woman) who were deciphering my sign together and concluded, "Cigarettes, OK, OK." Then a young CVS employee in her uniform shirt gave me a big smile. It was reassuring to see a non-smoking CVS employee. A raised set of male eyebrows passed followed by a man's positive nod. Then the guy who last week suggested that I add a skull and crossbones to my sign came by smiling and waving. Two tourists passed in front of CVS and one asked me if he could take a picture. I stood really still.

Then some little kids came by with their parents and one started to chant, "CVS, CVS, CVS." Not exactly my message. It was 9:38 a.m. by now and the temperature had risen to 79 degrees on it way to the mid 90s. Time to head home.

CVS sells poison: New venue, near power.
Day 32, Wednesday, September 01, 2010. It was 77 degrees when I passed through Dupont Circle on my way to a new venue, the famous K Street and Connecticut corner, home of federal lobbyists. I passed one CVS on my way that didn't seem too busy so I proceeded to another one on Connecticut Avenue just north of K Street, near to a Metro (subway) station. People came off the Metro in waves. Three traffic patrol persons were trying to control the battle at the intersection among cars, buses and pedestrians. Lots of whistle blowing.

I got to my spot, just to the left of the front door frame, sign in hand at 8:18 a.m.. Quickly a smile came from a lady on her way to work. Then a tall brawny man with glasses entered CVS saying, "So does everyone else," in response to my "CVS sells poison." sign. I didn't reply until he came out. I explained that CVS claims to be a health care company with 500 clinics and at the same time they are distributing cigarettes that are killing people. He conceded, "All right then." Then a lady of Asian descent looked at the sign, walked along some and then looked again. "You are right," chimed the next passerby. On entering CVS a man raised his eyebrows.

I waved through the window to a CVS clerk stationed near the self-check out counters. She didn't wave back. I didn't notice any other CVS employees today. A smiling woman went by. An elderly lady in a suit pulled her suitcase past me and parked herself against a glass window about 20 feet from me. She took out a cigarette and began to smoke. Just on the other side of the sidewalk from the elderly lady, a homeless lady seemed to be enjoying her cigarette. Another smiling lady went by. Two men in dark suits passed in front of me, one was tapping his cigarette repeatedly in his palm. The tapper stared at my sign. He came back with his partner in the opposite direction less than a minute later not smoking the cigarette. A male went by raising his eyebrows to the sign.

A tall dark skinned man entered CVS with a smile and one thumb up. A guy with a backpack and shorts flashed a thumb up as he passed by. On entering CVS a female gave me a single thumb up. This appears unusual for females.

A lady dropped off her passenger in the no parking zone against the curb on Connecticut Avenue and nervously paced while the passenger went into CVS. The driver was wearing a CVS colored top so I wasn't sure what was happening. The driver looked over towards me several times; I was standing in front of the window where she might have been trying to see the passenger. When the passenger came out I saw the driver tapping a cigarette against her palm and then light up. Off they went into the dense traffic.

Then more smiles going by and going into CVS. A man nodded positively as he went by the front entrance to CVS. "Good sign," said a young female as she rushed passed me. On exiting the front door to CVS a female smiled while another smiled going into CVS. A jogger nodded positively as he ran by, as did a man in a business suit. A young man carrying a backpack smiled from a distance.

A tall man with a very small dog entered CVS. When he came out he immediately lit up a cigarette. The doorman from a nearby hotel went buy smoking and we said, "Hello." He returned later to ask me what my sign was all about. I explained to him that it wasn't right for the government to pay CVS for medications (e.g., through Medicare) to help people with cancer and at the same time CVS is helping create more cancer cases. He seemed to appreciate the irony.

"It's true," said a lady responding to my sign as she exited CVS. Two blue-color workers entered CVS saying, "Do they sell cigarettes here?" I think they wanted me to hear them. At 9:39 a.m. I left my new venue.

CVS sells poison.: "Marlboros, are they on sale?"
Day 33, Tuesday, September 07, 2010.

I arrived at K Street and 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., the heart of lobbyist country at 8:04 a.m. The CVS/Pharmacy was housed in the Southern Railroad Building built in 1928 at the southwest corner of the intersection. This is the sixth CVS store at which I have demonstrated and the one closest to power. Almost immediately upon my arrival a lady asked if she could take a picture. She also said, "It'll be all over Facebook today. I agree with you." I thanked her and gave her a copy of the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, asking that he work to convince CVS to stop selling cigarettes.

Shortly thereafter another female asked for permission to take a picture of the sign and me. Of course I agreed. Then a large female CVS employee stepped out of the front door and spotted me off to her right. I said, "Hello; she didn't. She immediately retreated and was replaced by another curious CVS employee, this time a young man with a big smiling grin. He went right back into the store without a word. Two ladies passed with smiles, one pulling her luggage with wheels attached.

A man went by and said, "I agree with you." Then like magic, three CVS employees, two males and one smoking female, appeared on the sidewalk,. One of the males had come out of the front door earlier. A guy with two buddies referring to my sign said, "You can say that again man."

A female passerby after scanning the sign thought out loud, "Oh, cigarettes, yes." And then another lady gave a thumbs up sign.

A lady in a dark suit accompanied by a guy came out the front door of CVS and passed very close to where I was standing. She muttered something about cigarettes. She then returned with him, greeted me politely and informed me that I had to be at least 15 feet from the building to demonstrate. I said that she would need to tell me exactly where I could be. First she said that I would have to go close to the curb. I told her that this was my 33rd time demonstrating and that no one had approached me with this rule. She then said that I didn't have to go to the last concrete rectangle nearest the curb, but it would be all right if I occupied the second rectangle in from the curb. I moved to that area and didn't see her again, although I suspect that she probably checked later to see that I was complying with her wishes. From this position I could still be seen by the busloads of people walking north along 15th Street next to CVS and large groups of people going to work who were crossing K Street going south on 15th Street. Lots of serious faces passed the day after Labor Day. Was there really a 15 foot rule? Who asked this lady to intervene? Next time I'll ask more questions before I comply.

I got a strong thumbs up from a big male. Then a lady with a strong non-North American accent came right up to me against the flow of pedestrian traffic to ask, "Marlboros, are they on sale?" I tried to patiently explain what my sign meant. She didn't go into CVS.

In front of CVS another employee was taking a smoking break, while another female passerby remarked, "O yeah, for sure." Another lady smiled and gave a positive nod. Then a lean "cool" guy with a shoulder bag sauntered by asking, "Do you have a light?"

Two guys passed with one saying, "God bless 'im." But who knows to whom he was referring? I then saw a neighbor. As I walked home, leaving at 9:34 a.m., a day laborer saw my sign and requested a cigarette. I tried to explain that cigarettes were bad for him but I don't think I made any impression.

CVS sells poison: What about the 15' rule?,
Day 34, Friday, September 10, 2010.

I arrived at K and 15th Streets at 7:57 a.m. and spotted a completed multiple car human error event on K Street just east of the intersection. A panhandler was sitting against a garbage receptacle with a bible at his side not far from the corner of CVS. We did not communicate maybe because of the large space between us and the large number of people who passed between our locations.

A man in a dark suit passed me saying, "That's true," referring to "CVS sells poison." on my sign. Then a rotund man with a crew cut passed in front of me and sarcastically added, "No one else does, apparently?" A male then gave a positive nod. Pointing her whole hand toward my sign, a tall female in heels and a blue suit said, "Very true." Next came a triple look: a guy in a baseball cap looked, then continued to walk, he stopped and looked again, then he walked a little more and then stopped to look again.

A female in a red sweater smiled after which a man in a dark suit carrying a shoulder bag gave a double look. Another female smiled and a man with a bag nodded. Looking like the guy with the shoulder bag from the previous Tuesday who made the same remark, a man queried, "You gotta light?"

A female in her 20s smiled, followed by another in her 30s who said, "Keep up the good work." Next came a double thumbs up or was it just a twitch; I'm not sure? A big guy in a baseball cap passed with a big open smile, teeth gleaming.

When I left at 9:25 a.m. I passed in front of the entrance to CVS and spotted an employee smoking next to the door. I said, "Hi," but didn't get a reply, not even a smile. I passed another CVS/Pharmacy on the way home. There was a CVS employee smoking in front of it also. Some of CVS's best cigarette customers must be its own employees.

And regarding that "15 foot rule" (how close can one demonstrate near a building?) claimed by the lady in the dark suit on Tuesday, my legal counsel, my daughter, said that she could not find such a rule. So today, I demonstrated right next to CVS and did not encounter the lady in the dark suit.

CVS sells poison: Between Algeria and Libya
Day 35, Tuesday, September 21, 2010.

I decided not to demonstrate on Mondays; workers are uptight and focused on their return to work, which is probably not the best time to present the idea that it is ludicrous for a health care company to be promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes, an addictive and lethal product.

I also decided to check a new venue, a CVS/pharmacy on K Street at the corner of 20th Street. I thought the pedestrian traffic might be less dense because the store was not near a Metro subway exit. I was wrong; there was a steady flow of pedestrians. I arrived at 7:57 a.m. The temperature was 57 degrees, ideal protesting weather. I saw a panhandler standing at the corner with his cup in front of him and what appeared to be a suitcase behind him draped with a cloth. He didn't say a word.

A man in a red baseball cap flashed a big smile in my direction. Next I received a firm positive nod and a "Hey." Another man nodded and smiled. Expecting reassurance, another man said, "Cancer sticks, right?" "You're right, they do," said a passerby. A lady smiled. I looked at the corner; the panhandler had vanished.

A man in a suit gave a thumbs up as he entered a large office building adjacent to CVS. He stopped and smiled to make sure that I got his message. Then at 8:35 a.m. a small bus pulled up to the curb in front of the office building. Twenty to thirty men exited dressed neatly in suits and wearing nametags with the top line "U.S. Department of State followed by their name. I was facing them as they exited the bus along with perhaps 10-15 women. One tall man dressed in a beige suit asked if he could take a picture of the sign and me. Of course I said, "Sure." Then he asked if he could be in the picture. "Sure." Then I offered him my sign and stepped out of the picture. Others excitedly then joined him, taking turns holding the sign. By this time pedestrians were stopping to see my largest demonstration yet. The sidewalk was completely blocked. Then the men in suits requested that I rejoin them for some more pictures. They then graciously thanked me and said that they were very much against smoking.

While the picture taking was going on I asked one of my new colleagues where he came from and he said, "Tunisia." The men remained outside for some time before entering the office building at 1990 K Street NW. I excused myself and interrupted a group of four including the gentleman who first requested a chance to take pictures. I gave him the letter that we sent Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, requesting that he work to end the sale of cigarettes at CVS. The letter also contains my email address and I said that I would appreciate it very much if they would send some of the pictures to me. They gladly said that they would provide us with the pictures that they took. It would be great to have documentation of our best and biggest demonstration yet with our new friends from Tunisia. "CVS sells poison" goes global.

A man walked by with an unlit cigarette in his mouth. Two females went by one smiling and saying "Yep," and the other, "You are right." And then the tallest man smiled.

"Oh no, they sell poison?" queried a female on her way to work. A man unloading his Subaru station wagon at the curb looked my way and said, "Good," in support. More smiles and nods ensued. I noticed a young man who seemed to be texting while leaning against the wall joining CVS to the adjacent office building. He then started to smoke. After a few minutes a female joined him and they began a very long discussion of his previous efforts to quit smoking. When I finally began to go over to them, perhaps to encourage him, he had disappeared. A women in scrubs went by and looked twice at the sign. A lady in an orange top said, "Right." A man gave a thumbs up. "You're right about that," added another pedestrian. Another thumbs up. "They sure do," remarked another woman.

At 9:42 a.m. I left not knowing why the delegation from Tunisia was so enthusiastic.

CVS sells poison: The hidden CVS.
Day 36, Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

It was a cool 60 degrees at 7:58 a.m. when I arrived on the corner of K Street and 20th Street (Washington, DC), the site of our seventh CVS/pharmacy store and 36th demonstration. "It says poison" was the first remark I heard. A young waif in a red uniform stood outside the adjacent office building smoking. Another woman passed by smoking. Many others passed by smoking. The panhandler stood on the corner with a piece of luggage draped with a plastic bag propped in front of him. His business was very slow. We didn't communicate.

At 8:15 a.m. a woman came out of the front door of CVS wearing a white knitted long sweater, quickly looked in my direction with a strained face and retreated in a flash. She may have been a manager; I didn't see her again for the rest of the morning.

The panhandler went into CVS with his luggage. The wind periodically kicked up and each time I had to take my hand off the handle of my sign and hold the sign itself in a two handed grip.

"You're right about that," said a male worker accompanied by two other men. At 8:24 a.m. the panhandler came out of CVS and returned to his spot.

"Oh, cigarettes," said one female passerby to her companion. Another lady, one wearing a long pink coat smiled. At 8:44 a.m. the waif in the red uniform exited her office building again to ingest another cigarette. A male contemporary, who also smoked a cigarette, accompanied her. She appeared to point toward my sign when they reached the curb.

A guy in a dark suit with a shoulder bag smiled devilishly, glanced in my direction and appeared to purposefully yank out a cigarette from his pack as he passed in front of me. He lit up immediately. A guy in a black beret seemed upset that we were mentioning CVS. Unfortunately he walked and talked so fast that I can't quote him. His was the only outwardly negative response of the morning. A lady in a leather coat, who was carrying two bags, smiled in approval.

A man pushing a stroller with a child smiled and nodded his approval. A serious man sped by on a Segway weaving among the pedestrians on the sidewalk. A lady went by with her smirk. Another canceled that out with a smile while listening to downloaded music. A man smiled while carrying two full grocery bags.

CVS/pharmacy should be thankful that I chose this store. Most passersby wouldn't know that a CVS store exists there because the windows are covered with white sheets, there's no awning with its name emblazoned and the signage above the windows contains black letters against a gray background wall. I left at 9:30 a.m. No sweat.

CVS sells poison: The cops came.
Day 37, Tuesday, October 5, 2010.

It was in the 50s and very blustery. I arrived at 8:17 a.m. in front of a CVS/pharmacy on 21st Street NW, surrounded by The GeorgeWashington University campus. The student union is directly across the street; the Department of Media and Public Affairs is right next door.

I was greeted by two workers who were walking by. "Any cigarettes in there?" one said referring to the Marlboro pack attached to the front of my sign. Then a man about to enter CVS stopped to talk, talk, and talk. He had a lot to say about the addictiveness of smoking. He related that he had heard addicts who were trying to quit smoking sound just like cocaine addicts he had known when they tried to quit. He told me that he wanted to protest (on another topic). He wanted to know what he had to do in order to protest the way I was. Did he need a permit? What are the rules? I assured him that all he had to do is show up, stay on public sidewalks and not block other pedestrians from going where they wanted. He seemed relieved.

Two smokers one male one female walked by saying, "CVS sells poison." A lady wearing a knit cap smiled and remarked, "That's perfect." I thanked her. An employee of CVS in his uniform blue shirt stepped out of the front door at the top of the stairs, looked over my way briefly and retreated. A female smiled as she went by. A tall man exited CVS and frantically did everything possible to quickly get his cigarette lit.

A man in a George Washington University jacket said, "Great sign." Then a very imposing man wearing a brown suit with the word "Securitas" on the breast pocket came out of the front door with another man trailing him. He suddenly approached me and said in a gruff tone that I couldn't be where I was and must move away from the (pubic) sidewalk I was using. I calmly explained that I had demonstrated 36 times before and that this was the 8th CVS store at which I had protested. He said that he had not seen me at these other times and that I had to leave (true). I stood still. I said that my legal counsel (my daughter) said that I was complying with the law. He said he was going to call the police as he climbed the CVS stairs. I said, "You can call whomever you want." (I probably said "whoever".)

He quickly turned around and angrily shouted, "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" I replied, "I didn't say anything." (not true and I shouldn't have said anything) When he came out of CVS he waited with three others at the bottom of the stairs as I continued to walk back and forth in front of CVS making extra sure I did not impede any pedestrians. I did stop one time to try to engage the Securitas Man; I let him know that I recognized he was just trying to do his job. I didn't tell him that he was doing it incorrectly.

About 10-15 minutes later the District of Columbia Police arrived without a siren and parked across the street. I continued to march with even more precision than before. After a few minutes two uniformed officers exited their patrol car and walked over to the man who called them. I decided not to go over to the group although I did think perhaps my story should be heard at the same time that he was telling his. The police officers didn't spend more than a minute with him and then they started to walk towards me. I took off my sunglasses for better eye contact and walked towards them. I didn't have to say a thing. One officer with a big grin on his face said, "You can be here as long as you want. Just don't interfere with anyone or go on the stairs." He assured me, "You should be able to get to all the customers from where you are."And off the officers went to their patrol car.

The man in the brown suit went up the stairs without a word. He came out later and walked along the front wall of CVS to the adjacent alley and then walked back inside. Complete silence. I left at 9:43 a.m. after having to hold my sign with two hands against my chest the entire time because of the gusty winds.

CVS sells poison: The record "thumbs-up"
Day 38, Tuesday, October 12, 2010.

I arrived at 11:37 a.m. at the CVS/pharmacy store across the street from The George Washington University student union for the second time. The temperature was in the mid 70s. I joined a homeless man selling Street Sense, a newspaper devoted to homeless issues and poverty. A gaggle of preschoolers marched by holding hands with their caretakers.

A lady in a white blouse and skirt came directly at me saying, "I'm going to try not to buy any cigarettes. School is tough. I'm under a lot of stress. I'm a student, not a teacher." Then I think I saw the security guard who hassled me last Wednesday. He had his suit jacket off and a cup in his hand; he was standing at the top of the stairs in front of CVS. He quickly went inside.

A male student gave a positive nod. A slender female in a pants suit pointed her finger at my sign and emphatically said, "That is true." A female in shorts smiled. The homeless man interjected a story about how he was given permission to strip a building of its copper pipes and that this permitted him to "march to the bank". A man in a dark suit approached and asked what my protest was all about. He concluded, "Good idea."

For the first time in 38 days of protest someone actually stopped in his tracks. A runner passing me on the sidewalk stopped, asked what organization I was representing, stated he didn't understand how drug stores could sell cigarettes and then said with great sincerity, "Thank you very much for doing this."

A lady wearing a traditional scarf smiled as she went into CVS. When she left CVS she smiled again. One young woman said to another, "'cause they sell cigarettes." A male student in shorts smiled.

A man parked at the curb in front of me asked if he could ask me something. When I approached the car he wondered out loud, "Why CVS?" I explained CVS was the biggest and one had to start somewhere. He asked a lot more questions. He wondered where people would get their cigarettes if I succeeded. He stated that not everyone who smokes gets sick. I told that I hoped that he was one of those people who didn't get sick. Hanging from his rearview mirror was a Disabled Driver Tag.

Across the street on the corner of I and 21st Street demolition workers were gutting a nine-story building. They were throwing debris down a metal chute that connected at each floor. The noise was thunderous, unpredictable, and ugly. A male walking with friends said," You could put all drugs up there to," referring to the spot where the Marlboro pack was attached to my sign. And then came a very enthusiastic "thumbs-up" from the greatest distance yet, across three street lanes plus two sets of sidewalks and a flight of stairs, as a very tall man in a suit saluted in my direction. He stood outside for a long time greeting entrants to the student union who were wearing name tags, some of them coming from a session in the Department of Media and Pubic Affairs adjacent to CVS.

"As long as it (poison) is not in the cupcakes, I'm all right," said one young lady to her companion.

At 1:07 p.m. I bought a paper from the homeless guy and headed home. Should I return to this site?

CVS sells poison: Three stores, the cops again?
Day 39, Monday, October 18, 2010.

As I crossed M Street NW, a man in sweats said, "I agree with you there mister." I arrived at the CVS/pharmacy on The George Washington University campus at 4:24 p.m. Immediately a male passerby said, " I'm surprised they still sell them in pharmacies." Two young males carrying take out styrofoam boxes and wearing shorts approached the front of CVS and the taller of the two flashed a thumbs-up. I thought that's good. When I later turned towards them after marching parallel to the street I saw the shorter fellow rolling a joint. Then he shared the lit joint quickly with the homeless vendor. So in broad daylight three guys are smoking pot on a cement bench in front of CVS.

Then a young student asked if she could take a picture of the sign. I asked if she wanted her two male companions in the picture. She said, "No." Then a lady in a white top and slacks came over to also take a picture. When she finished she hopped into the passenger side of a station wagon parked in front of CVS. Two security guards (from the company that tried to get me to leave on Day 37) came out of an alley and walked along the front wall of CVS. They kept their distance and didn�t say anything to me.

A curly haired male coming out of CVS approached and asked if I had made the sign. I told him that I designed it, but I had it professionally made. He said, "I agree, I agree. It's f***in' bulls**t."

A young woman with backpack said, "So doesn't everyone else?" I should have but didn't respond. Then a very old man in a topcoat and hat came out of the Department of Media and Public Affairs building across the alley from CVS. He came over to me and wanted to know what I was doing. I carefully explained what I was attempting to do and he seemed to appreciate its significance. A woman in black said, "Everyone else sells the stuff."

Then I was very pleased to meet Jonathan Ewing, systems administrator at ASH (Action on Smoking and Health, America�s first anti-smoking and nonsmokers� rights organization), who introduced himself to me. He said he'd been following my activities on Globalink. I kept my sign visible while Jonathan and I conversed. He was in a position to let me know that many of the passersby were reacting to the sign.

"Marlboro makes the poison," called out a young female. A male smiled and gave a thumbs-up. Then another of the same. A man approached and asked what I was protesting. He seemed to appreciate "someone who cares" and is willing to stand up to the big corporations.

At 5:30 p.m. I bought a Street Sense from the homeless vendor and headed for another CVS, this one on L Street NW just off 21st Street. The corner is occupied by a Ballys Fitness Center. The first person I saw was going into the Ballys and he said, "I agree." Within 30 seconds of my arrival when I turned around to reapproach the front door of CVS I saw the manager and another employee coming out the front door. He looked annoyed but didn't say anything to me. I kept walking back and forth and in no time the manager and �trailer� withdrew into the store. I expected him to do something but I never saw him again. Another CVS employee came out and stood in the doorway for a short time.

I stayed until 5:46 p.m. and then proceeded to the third CVS of the day at M Street NW and 20th Street. I walked back and forth along M Street. I saw a gigantic guard in the building next door to the CVS. I thought he might try to get me to stop. He climbed out from behind his desk and came outside but he just walked to the corner. I said, "Hello," to him. A male and female carrying two cameras were giggling in front of CVS. Eventually they made their way to the corner. I said to them "Do you want to take a picture?" And they giggled again and said, "Yes." I think they were shy.

A dark skinned young man went by and said, "Newports should be up there too."

At 6:00 p.m. I left without encountering any CVS employees although the front window was clear and one could easily see out of the store. There was a lot of buzz about the CVS sells poison sign. I could hear groups of men on the sidewalk talking about it and I also saw some Asian tourists looking at the sign and smiling at me from inside the front window of CVS.

CVS sells poison: The World Bank and IMF.
Day 40, Tuesday, October 26, 2010.

I arrived at Pennsylvania Ave. and 19th Street, site of a CVS/pharmacy across the street from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank buildings. It was 8:21 a.m. and a comfortable 64 degrees. Immediately a man in a dark suit flashed a thumbs-up.

At 8:36 a.m. I saw two CVS employees looking out at me through the 19th Street window. I never saw them again. Then a lady gave a big smile and another a thank you. A man in a blue suit smiled as did one in a brown suit. A man about 50 years old in a leather jacket pointed an energetic thumbs-up. Another man smiled. Then a man using a fancy camera took a picture from the passenger side of a car going south on 19th Street. Another thumbs-up ensued. Another man stopped, looked at my sign, returned to walking and then stopped and turned back to look again. An Asian male said, �I agree with you on that.�

Two men and a woman went by together and one of the males said, �Good, good, good.�

Being across from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings meant that the passersby were the most diverse group imaginable. The guard from the International Monetary Fund came across Pennsylvania Ave. to have a smoke surreptitiously next to CVS. When she returned to her post she had a discussion with a second guard, maybe about the �CVS sells poison� sign she had just seen.

A female nodded in approval. A bearded man in a suit smiled and gave a firm thumbs-up. At 9:30 a.m. the flow of pedestrians had diminished somewhat. Then a bald man hugging his female companion nodded positively and gave a big smile.

�Really good,� an attractive lady about 30 in a pants suit said as she flashed a thumbs-up. A big man, who hid his cigarette as he passed me, smushed it out on the front wall of CVS. What symbolism!

Many buses passed me on 19th Street as I faced the sign toward them. I saw passengers point out the sign to their companions. Then I saw the Coca-Cola deliveryman from the Dupont Circle CVS. He recognized me and said, � You rotate your stores.� A man with a strong accent offered, �You are right; they sell cigarettes.�

At 9:56 a.m. I left this CVS having seen a near constant stream of people heading to work. I�m definitely going back to this site, the 11th different store.

CVS sells poison: �Baby it�s cold outside.�
Day 41, Monday, November 1, 2010

It was 36 degrees as I crossed Dupont Circle on my way to the CVS/pharmacy across from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund offices on Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street, NW Washington, DC. I arrived at 7:43 a.m. and saw two ladies smoking on the corner.

Buses arrived continuously with names like Potomac Park, Pentagon, State Department, Kennedy Center, Express and Not In Service emblazoned in digital dots across their foreheads. The stream of buses lasted 1.5 hours.

One female smiled and another in mittens did as well. A tall distinguished looking man in a dark suit remarked, �Very good,� as he paced back and forth on the corner.

Three more women smiled. A man in a suit walked up to me wanting to know what the sign meant. When he was told he replied, �I hadn�t seen that,� referring to the pack of cigarettes attached to the center of the sign. A helmeted man on a bicycle nodded positively as he road by on the sidewalk. A male and female went by smoking. A male and female went by smiling in response to the sign. Raised eyebrows came next from a young man.

Throughout the morning I was really having a tough time getting my pad and pen out of my chest pocket because my hands were so cold. Then I had trouble writing legibly with my stiff fingers. I hoped I�d be able to decipher my scribbling when I got home. I usually brag about the fact that I�m from Buffalo, NY.

Two young men in dark suits approached the front door of CVS, one of them saying, �Poison, poison.� A few minutes later I saw both of them standing at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street sending smoke signals into the crisp, blue autumn sky.

As I crossed Dupont Circle on my way home at 9:26 a.m. the thermometer on the bank read 37 degrees. The forty-first demonstration was over. Off to a different venue next time maybe with gloves.

CVS sells poison: Thumbs, I smoke Newport.
Day 42, Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I arrived at the CVS/pharmacy on the corner of M and 20th Streets NW in downtown Washington, DC. It was sunny bright and cool.

A lady with two bags went by and smiled. Two men in dark suits went into CVS after looking three times at the �CVS sells poison� sign. A tall runner in shorts loped by saying, �Great.� Next a man in a suede jacket gave a thumbs-up. Another man, this one in glasses, a flat hat and toting a shoulder bag, flashed a thumbs-up. A lady smiled.

Then a guy riding a bike, maybe a messenger, yelled, �I smoke Newport (second leading brand in U.S.A.); cigarettes are good, cigarettes are good.� When he stopped at the intersection he yelled again, �Cigarettes are good, cigarettes are good.� Seemingly also part of this rebellion a lady in the left lane of 20th Street closest to me rolled down her window and lit up a cigarette and grumbled something to me. A female passerby smiled twice.

A lean lady with a ponytail approached the intersection while looking at the sign. Instead of crossing she came over to me with a smile and asked if I were still running. I didn�t recognize her; she asked how much I was running and that she knew me from the high school running track in Georgetown where she said she saw me with my �Marlboro shirt�. Actually the shirt had the Marlboro logo on it; the shirt also said �Toxic-Tobacco Law: America�s Response to the Predators. The recognizer lady added, �I�m glad to see you out here doing this.� I thanked her as she left to cross the street.

Another man saluted with a thumbs-up. A tall robust female gave a big smile. Then a woman said, �I agree,� as she added a firm thumbs-up. A lady in a dark pants suit steadied her smart phone to take a picture. I stood still and she took the picture and smiled broadly. Another thumbs-up passed. A smiling woman stopped to kid me, �They�ve (CVS stores) been selling them for years. You should have stopped them a long time ago.� Can�t argue with that logic.

A lady in a white jacket smiled. Then a very big smile emanated from a very small woman. A man in a white jacket produced a double nod and smile. A homeless lady with her cart stood at the edge of the curb yelling something about why we were focusing on CVS. I left this busy intersection at 9:18 a.m. I could see CVS employees inside the store but none came out to chat with me.

CVS sells poison: �This is Walgreens you dumb ass.�
Day 43, Thursday, November 18, 2010.

I arrived at 8:40 a.m. at 2240 M Street NW, Washington, DC for the first time. It was cool, the mid 40s (F). The CVS/pharmacy was in the middle of the block next to an ATM machine. A fire station sat across the street. Immediately, a man stopped to say, �I agree with you,� and suggest that if the government could receive more revenue from taxing another substance like pot, the government would get rid of cigarettes. A woman in a coat with a fur collar smiled and a runner in shorts nodded. A guy in a fancy two seat sports car rolled down his window, shouted something out that I missed, rolled up his window and sped around the corner. The beauty of an aging hearing system.

Then a security guard exited the doorway next to the CVS. I thought he might come to complain but he just went into CVS and came out with food, probably his breakfast. Then a man riding a bicycle focused so much on the �CVS sells poison� sign that his front wheel rubbed against a depressed section of sidewalk throwing him off balance, nearly causing him to tumble. The same thing happened to a pedestrian as his shoe slipped down onto the same depressed section while he was staring at the sign. Later in the morning a pedestrian crossing the street tripped up the curb at an intersection while he was gawking at the sign.

I saw one firefighter exit his station twice to smoke. He didn�t have any companions, a good sign that not many firefighters on today�s shift are smokers.

A lady went by and questioned, �Sells poison?�

I said, �Cigarettes,� and she replied, �You are right.� Another woman carrying coffee raised her eyebrows to the sign. A guy with a helmet hopped on his scooter and said, �What about Walgreens and Rite-Aid? You have to be an equal opportunity protester.� Another passerby agreed that that stuff is poison. A female wearing a helmet nodded as she walked her bike. A man in a dark suit entering CVS also nodded. A young woman with a shoulder bag smiled as did two other woman.

At 9:45 a.m. I left this CVS and walked one block to a Walgreens pharmacy at the corner of 23rd Street and M Street NW. When I arrived a man walking a small white and black dog immediately told me that this was Walgreens and he pointed to the CVS. A young man with a backpack nodded. Another person told me the CVS was �Over there.� Then I saw a man at a distance smoking. Normally I avoid smokers, no eye contact and movement away from them, to avoid any appearance of confrontation. When this man passed near me he shouted, �This is Walgreens you dumb ass.� I didn�t even look in his direction.

The guy with the white and black dog returned to make sure that I was in the right place. He reminded me where the CVS was, the one where I had just spent the last hour. I explained to him that I was getting a lot of attention at Walgreens and that I was covering two chains at the same time. He said something about my using reverse psychology. He seemed assured that I was not confused and that I was acting purposefully. Another passerby stopped to tell me this was a Walgreens where I was perched.

A lady said, �That is poison, that is poison.�

An old man pushing a basket stopped to ask, �They don�t sell cigarettes?� referring to Walgreens. I assured him that they did sell cigarettes like the other drug chains. �You are right man, you are right man,� said a middle aged man as he passed quickly with a male companion. At 10:10 a.m. I left after obviously startling some people with the incongruity of my sign and my placement.

CVS sells poison: "Your Marlboro needs to be bigger."
Day 44, Monday, November 29, 2010.

When I crossed Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) at 7:50 a.m. it was a chilly 33 degrees F, with a cloud-free blue sky. I went to a new venue (the 13th), the CVS store on 19th Street NW just south of Dupont Circle. I faced the escalators that lifted loads of people out of the depths of the Dupont Circle South Metro (subway) Station as they scurried to work. About half of the stream crossed 19th Street before they reached me while the other half had to pass me on their way to work. The flow of people was nearly constant.

Early on three women traveling together all flashed smiles as they passed the sign. Then a man passed and smiled. Across the street people were lined up to take the intercity bus to New York City. They moved toward the curb in order to get a better look at the �CVS sells poison� sign. "They certainly do," agreed a nodding and smiling female with her head bundled up. A tall female also smiled.

A young, lean man asked if he could take my picture. I said, "Sure." It took him a while to get his picture as he shivered in the cold. I thanked him and he said, "Thank you for doing this." A large delegation of men and women in business attire without warm overgarments came up the sidewalk from the south taking in the sign.

A woman smiled and gave a friendly thumbs up.

An older lady approached me within inches with her hands filled with two containers of coffee (I think). She emotionally said, "I agree with you, but it�s the people I should be attacking not CVS. If the people didn�t buy it, CVS wouldn�t sell it."

Two men passed and I overheard one say, "How can they sell cigarettes; It is bizarre." "Mmm, Mmm good," chuckled a young man in an orange sweatshirt as he got very close to me while puffing strongly on his cigarette. A young woman went by smiling and said, "I know that�s right," referring to my sign. Speaking of my sign, my hands were so cold during this stint that I had to keep one hand in my pocket at all times. I had a very hard time writing notes. Three subteens went by discussing the message on the sign. Another female gave a thumbs up. A man smiled. Then a tall man in a suit quietly approached and advised, "Your Marlboro needs to be bigger," referring to the pack I have attached to the center of my sign. I thanked him.

The temperature reading at Dupont Circle read 36 degrees (F) as I headed home at 9:20 a.m. The 44th protest had been completed.

CVS sells poison: "That's a contradiction."
Day 45, December 17, 2010

It was 27 degrees (F) at 8:22 a.m. when I arrived near the second CVS store on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., about 15 meters from the rising escalators out of the depths of the Dupont Circle Metro (subway) Station South. The deliveryman for the Cosi Caf� just to the right of me repeatedly looked back at my sign as he steered his load across the sidewalk. A short female in a white winter coat smiled. Then I heard an undecipherable mumble from a man in black.

Two bundled up female teens approached me from under their knit caps to ask what I was doing. I started to explain that CVS sold cigarettes while selling medications and other health products to make people well. They got it right away when one said, "That's a contradiction." I asked if they had access to YouTube and they replied in the affirmative. I told them to search for "CVS sells poison" on YouTube to hear my 13-year-old granddaughter's musical video.

"Keep up the good work man," said a quick paced male passerby. Thinking out loud, another blurted, "CVS sells poison." Along the building to my right sat two women smoking at separate round caf� tables in the below freezing weather. Then I got my first thumbs up from a man wearing mittens. It's not quite as dramatic as when you can see the thumb and all the fingers.

A man, perhaps having trouble reading, asked with a non-American English speaking accent, "Free?" referring to the attached pack of Marlboros on my sign. I spotted a man reading the newspaper and smoking at an outdoor caf� table where the women sat shortly before.

A lady who looked to me like Alice Rivlin, the economist, passed by for the second time. She made a point of saying, "Good message." I thanked her. Next a woman said, "Like your sign." I thanked her also. From a distance I saw a big hand wave and smile from a redhead on her way to work I presume. Another thumbs up appeared, this time in fingered gloves.

Two guys on separate occasions remarked that it was not only CVS but others that sold cigarettes as well. I smiled but did not say anything. Maybe I was too cold. One of them said I should be picketing at these other places. I said nothing. How many places can I cover at once?

Then the very large guard from the enormous building that houses CVS called for me to leave. He said, "This is private property, go some place else, rap it up, I'm calling the police." I said that I'm not on private property, I've talked to the police before and that I have done this 45 times. He repeated, "I'm going to call the police." I just kept demonstrating and never saw the police.

A tall woman wearing a beige coat with fur collar approached me and asked,"Are you trying to get them to stop selling cigarettes?"

I replied, "Yes."

She said, "Good job" and I told her to check us out on YouTube. Somehow saying you're on YouTube gives the project a little extra clout.

It was 30 degrees at 9:31 a.m. when I crossed Dupont Circle on my walk home. This was the first time that I thought it might be better if people didn't comment so much. That way I wouldn't have to repeatedly take my left glove off, shift the sign to my right hand, reach in my right breast pocket for a pen and pad, click the pen, write notes and then return everything back to its source. My hands got really cold completing those steps.

CVS sells poison: "Get a life."
Day 46, January 4, 2011

It was 30 degrees (F) when I crossed Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. at 8:02 a.m. on my way to our first demonstration of the new year. I positioned myself near the subway station exit on 19th Street NW just off the circle.

Within 30 seconds of my arrival a short bespectacled guy angrily grilled me: "What's your point? They're marketers. They sell what people ask for."

People were walking fast, no doubt trying to get to their destination to find warmth again.

Besides carrying my usual "CVS sells poison" sign, I hung a sign with the YouTube logo on it around my neck. My hope was that passersby would note the two signs and then search YouTube for "CVS sells poison" and arrive at www.YouTube.com/watch?v=TjpqXQc4tKg. There they'll find the music video my 13-year-old granddaughter and I made to help us convince CVS/pharmacy to stop promoting, selling and distributing cigarettes.

Two men in ankle length beige coats went by together and I heard one say, "CVS sells poison." A few minutes later they returned and one of them ranted, "Your sign doesn't say anything about all the taxes cigarettes bring in. With our economy we need the money. In fact they should sell cigarettes at half price so more people would smoke."

Next a lady smiled at the sign and a man gave a strong thumbs up. Then I heard from a guy who went by me with his head wrapped in his bent left elbow. He said, "Get a life." I don't think he was talking to someone on his cell phone.

Another guy came towards me and yelled, "Cigarettes are awesome." Who said that everyone knows cigarettes are bad?

A very tall man pulling one large rolling suitcase on each side of him mumbled something to me that I couldn't discern, but I'm absolutely sure it wasn't a compliment or a supportive remark. You can just tell.

Just before I left my post at 9:25 a.m. a uniformed female worker walking along the closest building to me yelled out, "Really, if you don't know that by now . . .."

It was 32 degrees when I reached Dupont Circle on my way home. I think the harsh weather may bring out more hostile reactions. It was a good thing that I have thick skin and layered my clothes. We now have 598 YouTube views of "CVS sells poison: The song" at www.YouTube.com/watch?v=TjpqXQc4tKg Please check it out and pass it along to friends and family.

CVS sells poison: "Those are damn lies."
Day 47, Thursday, January 13, 2011

At 8:02 a.m. I crossed Washington's Dupont Circle to protest in front of a CVS/pharmacy that I had frequented before, the one with the nearby T-shirt vendor and ATM security guard. It was 26 degrees F. As soon as I arrived a woman dressed for the weather came around the corner and flashed a thumbs up. Then a curious lady stopped to ask what this was about. As soon as she got her words out she noticed the Marlboro packs on the sign and then said, "I got it."

Two teenage girls on their way to school passed by and one said into her cell phone, "CVS sells poison."

"Those are damn lies. I work for CVS," yelled a tall older teen with a backpack as he entered the CVS store with three or four friends some 10 meters from where I was standing. When he came out a short time later he yelled at me again but I couldn't catch it all, something about my selling poison. At least all the people around us heard something about "poison" in front of a CVS/pharmacy store. All of this was going on as my nose kept running from the cold. I had skiing gloves on but they weren't sufficient to combat below freezing air for over an hour. Just growing up in Buffalo, New York is not enough.

Two professional looking ladies came down the sidewalk both pulling a single suitcase on wheels. The one closest to me raised her eyebrow, seemingly supporting what I was doing. Another woman said "Hello," and smiled as she passed.

The clock couldn't move fast enough, but I had decided in advance to protest for a least an hour. Fortunately the wind only gusted up one time.

This is just the second time that I wore the YouTube logo around my neck. From my perspective passersby were taking in both signs now. Hopefully we'll get a bump up in our YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjpqXQc4tKg ) views (713 views when I left my house in the morning, not bad, not viral).

A man dressed like the managers at CVS came out the front door of CVS in a dress shirt and tie, looked around, and went over to the garbage pail, picked up a pizza box and pushed it into the pail. He then retreated into the warm store. He may have been checking on the demonstration but he did not say anything to me.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, a young woman walked by and barked, "They don't have to buy them." By her looks, she seemed out of character. I said nothing.

I kept watching the clock and at 9:02 a.m. I headed home with the temperature still 26 degrees F. The T-shirt vendor hadn't arrived yet, maybe too cold. Before leaving I told the security guard that my granddaughter and I had made a music video to which I hoped he would listen. He asked how to find it and I told him to search for "CVS sells poison" on YouTube. I think he'll check it out; he's always listening to his I-Pod.

When I got home my hands were hurting like I've never experienced pain in them before. As "they" say, "No pain, no gain." Just kidding, I'm more in the "train, don't strain" group.

CVS sells poison: Thumbs up from the U.S. Surgeon General.
Day 48, Thursday, January 20, 2011

It was 33 degrees F as I neared Washington's Dupont Circle at 7:52 a.m. on my way to the CVS pharmacy on The George Washington University's Foggy Bottom campus. I went back to the campus because I thought that students might be more responsive to the YouTube sign I had around my neck and thus check out our music video. When I arrived I immediately received a pleasant smile from a passing lady. Then a blue-collar worker asked, "What kind of poison?" The wind kept swirling on and off.

A guy in a truck trying to leave the CVS alley rolled down his window to tell me that he was a smoker. I told him that it was hard to hear with his engine going so he turned it off. I asked him if his kids smoked and he said, "No." We agreed that was good. Three ladies exited a cab and stared at the "CVS sells poison" sign. They went into the Media and Public Affairs Building across the alley from the CVS store. A little guy with glasses indicated that he recognized me from my posts on Dupont Circle. I smiled. There were lots of cabs letting people off on 21st Street and most of the people seemed to be entering the Media Building. A male raised his eyebrow up as he sped toward CVS. An elderly couple went by. All I could hear was "poison".

Then four women exited a black SUV and started up the stairs to the Media Building about 10-15 meters from where I was standing. I recognized one of the women and quickly moved toward the stairs and loudly said, "Good morning." All four turned around in my direction and the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Regina Benjamin, upon reading the "CVS sells poison" sign flashed a beautiful smile and a rousing thumbs-up. I heard someone say, "Good for you." A few minutes after the Surgeon General entered the building, one of her aides came outside and asked if she could take pictures of the sign and me for the Surgeon General's folio. Needless to say I was very cooperative. As the aide was leaving I asked her to check out our music video on YouTube by searching for "CVS sells poison."

Two women went by separately and gave smiles. The best dresser of the day said, "I agree." An angry young man said, "Everything's poison. Why you picking on them?" A very tall uniformed George Washington University worker stopped to say that he agreed with me and tell me the story of his eight-year abstinence from smoking. He told me his kids didn't smoke and that they encouraged him to quit. He quit after a spell of dizziness one morning that he attributed to his smoking. He was proud to say that he didn't use any aids like patches and quit "cold turkey."

I got my first combination thumbs-up and iPhone lift (right handed). A cab stalled in traffic gave the driver time to roll down his window and ask, "Why CVS?" I explained that CVS was the largest health care provider in the USA with over 500 medical clinics and over 7,000 stores. He suggested that I write that down somewhere intimating that my sign was not adequately communicating. Just before leaving my post a small, lean thirty something man said, "I agree with you. I'm a smoker. They should just ban those things." I could feel his desperation.

I stayed at CVS until 10:15 a.m. hoping that the Surgeon General would reappear so I could give her the copy of the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, urging CVS to stop promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes. I wrote the Surgeon General a letter that afternoon and included with it the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan and the lyrics to "CVS sells poison: The song."

CVS sells poison: Tough lady turns tender.
Day 49, Thursday, February 17, 2011.

I arrived at the CVS pharmacy at 15th and K Streets (Lobbyist Land in Washington, D.C.) about 8:46 a.m. on a sunny 44 F degree day, the best day for me this winter. I didn't need gloves and I knew it would be easy to take notes without having to deal with gloves and frozen fingers. A perfect day to protest.

Shortly after I arrived, a tall man in a dark full-length winter topcoat said, "Good of you for doing that," while flashing a thumbs-up. Nice start. Next a giant of a man came from the other direction and barked, "Rite-Aid too."

I groaned, "I can only get to one place at a time." I should not have given such a defensive response, but I guess his anger set me off. I should have said, "You're right." I'll get better at this.

A man in a wheel chair approached and asked me where the Metro Station (subway) was. I said that I did not know and didn't want to lead him in the wrong direction. He continued north on 15th Street but I didn't see him asking anyone else for directions as he passed pedestrians.

There was a panhandler standing right in front of the CVS pharmacy asking for dimes (ten cents). Business did not seem too good. I wondered whether he thought that asking for dimes got better results than asking for greater amounts.

Four big full bags of garbage lay right next to the trash barrel on the southwest corner of K and 15th Streets.

A man carrying a leather bag over one shoulder came towards me and gave a triple thumbs-up. And then a guy asked, "Do you have a light?" I think I encountered this guy before with the same line. Then a fellow in a leather jacket nodded, "That's true," acknowledging the "CVS sells poison" sign.

A woman smiled as she went by. I haven't mentioned this before but during these protests I'm usually wearing sunglasses and have a very neutral look on my face, neither smiling nor frowning. Needless to say there isn't much eye contact with my wearing sunglasses. So, I'm not engaging pedestrians as they pass by.

A female CVS worker in uniform came out the front door carrying a portable bar code reader. I said, "Hello," and got zero response. She immediately turned around and went back into the store. Three ambulances simultaneously snaked by K and 15th Streets with their sirens blaring.

A bald man in a white dress shirt came around the corner and asked politely, "What kind of poison do they sell?"

I said, "Cigarettes."

And he said,"That's right."

A lady layered perfectly for the warming weather said as she passed, "Good work."

Shortly before I was going to leave a well-dressed lady in a dark suit came around the corner and approached me with a welcoming smile and greeting. She asked how I was doing and said that I looked good. Ironically it was the lady who had attempted to chase me away from the CVS store to the curb on a previous visit. She seemed unusually chummy. I told her that I had checked out the rules for protesting in public and that I was OK where I was. She seemed surprised but not aggravated at all. She said that they had been having problems with venders on the sidewalk. I hadn't seen any venders in the past near this CVS. (After she left, a vender did come and set his cart up on the sidewalk in front of CVS along K Street.) She and I exchanged more pleasantries, even talking about our families. She said that she hadn't seen me for awhile and I said I had been at other CVS locations and that I had completed 48 previous demonstrations. She asked, "All here?" In retrospect, I wonder if she was the manager of the CVS pharmacy. Although I saw her come around the corner, she could have exited from the front door of the CVS. However, she wasn't wearing a nametag like the other managers I have met.

Just before I was going to leave, a lady approached me with a small white sheet of paper containing a 15th Street address. I could see that she was confused and that she might have trouble understanding me. I decided to walk her in the direction of her destination and show her the addresses on the adjacent buildings to guide her.

I ended protest number 49 at 10:15 a.m., neither too hot nor too cold, just right. Waves of pedestrians filled the time today, with most of them seeming to take in the "CVS sells poison" and "YouTube" signs.

CVS sells poison: Protests at 12 Stores.
Day 50, Wednesday, April 6, 2011.

I arrived at the CVS pharmacy at 17th and P Streets NW for the first time ever about 8:15 a.m. on a cool 37 degree (F) spring morning. My plan was to mark the 50th day of protests with something different. The plan was to protest at about a dozen stores in one day to include a minimum of three new sites.

Not long after my arrival a man exited the front door and stood in the entrance with his phone in his hand. He was wearing a long sleeve dress shirt and tie, similar to those I've seen on CVS managers in the past. He appeared to be texting. After a short while he reentered the store, never to be seen by me again.

A woman smiled as she walked by. A D.C. police car cruised by slowly. No problems so far.

At 8:40 a.m. I landed at the CVS pharmacy between 14th and 15th Streets NW on P Street, right next to the Whole Foods Market. Soon I heard, "Good for you man," accompanied by a raised index finger. Then another male approached so he could see the attached cigarette pack on my sign better and enthusiastically asked, "What should I search for, CVS sells poison?" on YouTube. I said, "Yes."

A female kept staring at my sign as she walked perpendicular to the direction of the sidewalk to enter CVS. I thought she might crash into the side of the building. A man said out loud, "CVS sells poison." A twenty something man in a baseball cap blurted, "Right on man." As he approached, a curious man said he couldn't see from far away, while another said, "Yes they do."

At 9:02 I arrived at our third new CVS store in a row, located on a pie shaped piece of D.C. between Vermont Avenue and 14th Street NW. A friendly female employee said, "What does that say? Everyone sells cigarettes." I stayed quiet and smiled back. I decided to give the panhandler some room and moved to the opposite side of the doorway. Then I had the best conversation with a CVS manager since our protests began. He opened the conversation by asking if I had a permit. After assuring him that I didn't need one and I wouldn't interfere with his customers, I was able to explain our objective. He seemed satisfied and went back inside the store to work.

I came to the fourth store at 15th and K Streets NW at 9:24 a.m., still an active time for people going to work. An extremely well dressed and coifed lean woman (like a heavy smoker) in her 40s or 50s flashed a disgusted look at me as she passed me to enter the front entrance of CVS. I didn't see her leave the store.

A man and son walked by and the father said, "Yes they do sell poison." A lady grinned widely while a fellow pumped his fist in the air to support our effort. Two men worked the back of a delivery truck parked along 15th Street right in front of me. One of the workers yelled to me, "Two (packs of cigarettes) for five dollars." Then there was a smoker in my path to the right. I didn't get close to him as I shortened my route. After he left there was a smoker to my left in my path. I didn't get close to him either. I don't think they were working together.

At 9:45 I landed at the fifth store of the day where two fellows asked, "What does the sign say?" I thought that perhaps they couldn't read, a sad thought. Then a powerful looking dark skinned man asked what I was doing. When I said something about kids being exposed to cigarettes in pharmacies, he interrupted and said that if drug stores sold to kids, the FBI would be sent in. I said nothing; he seemed very hostile. He was trying to find a parking place on the street in downtown D.C., so some hostility might be expected.

I arrive at Pennsylvania Avenue and 19th Street NW at 10:15 a.m. and received a smile and nod from a lady in a brown dress. When two other ladies passed, one smiled in approval. That was store number six for the day, half way to my goal.

Next I traveled to The George Washington University campus, the seventh site of the day, arriving at 10:35 a.m.. A mom and her son went by and the mother smiled and nodded her approval. A young female student waved vigorously and smiled. I heard, "That's right, that's right," followed by "They sure do," from another source. As usual it was windy at this site, but even windier than usual. I had to hold my sign tightly and low which unfortunately covered my YouTube sign, specifically worn to encourage people to check out our music video on YouTube.

I arrived at site number eight at 10:56 a.m., located near 21st and L Streets. A lady smiled as she pushed her occupied stroller. A young woman and her smoking boyfriend passed while she made several references to the sign I was carrying. I think she was concerned about his smoking and was looking for some help from messages in the environment (not the ones behind the CVS checkout counters). Then a former schoolteacher stopped to say that she had quit smoking 30 years ago and it was very difficult. She said that smoking helped her relax in the classroom. She was encouraged to smoke by other teachers to help her calm her nerves. She wished us the best of luck in our efforts and shook my hand. She also said that many of the young renters in her residential building smoked. That distressed her. She doesn't have a cell phone.

The next stop, number nine, was the CVS pharmacy on M Street between 22nd and 23rd Streets just across the street from a fire station. I got there at 11:22 a.m. The pedestrian traffic was fairly light. A man and his wife and two children went into CVS to get batteries. When they came out of the store the father came over to me and said, "They (CVS) really are hypocrites, aren't they?" I asked if he were a visitor and I wished him a good vacation.

The tenth store was on the corner of M and 20th Streets. I got there at 11:40 a.m. A man in a black jacket went by and said out loud, "CVS sells poison." It has amazed me how many times people say that out loud. This store was configured so that through the front windows you can see the checkout counter and cigarette advertising display right behind it. I could have faced my sign right in the faces of people checking out, but I chose not to. Our main focus is the CVS leadership, not the CVS customers. A biker went by and said something about cigarettes that I couldn't decipher. It wasn't supportive however. I remember him from a previous protest.

I walked to the eleventh store situated on 19th Street near the Dupont Circle Metro (subway) exit and arrived at 12:02 p.m. A guy in a leather jacket asked if I had a light. He was trying to pull my leg. (Is that still an expression?) Another guy came by to say very sarcastically, "People don't have to buy them. It's a free country. Ever hear of that? I remained silent.

Then a young man approached me and said, "Can I ask you a few questions?" I said, "Yes," and he pulled out a Flip Camera. He asked what I was doing; I started talking and he started recording. Near the end he asked what organization I was with (they always ask that as if what you're doing doesn't count unless you belong to an organization). He asked me to spell my name and organization. After about four hours on my feet, my spelling was a little shaky, but accurate enough. When he finished and opened his jacket to put away his camera, I noticed his ID badge that indicated he worked for WUSA, Channel 9, the CBS television affiliate in Washington, D.C. I said to him that if I had known his affiliation I would have tried to be clearer in my response to him. He said, "It was fine," and off he went. The results of the interview can be found on the WUSA website at http://search.wusa9.com/default.aspx?ct=r&q=terence gerace.

I went to a familiar spot for the twelfth and final CVS protest of the day, the very busy store right on Dupont Circle. It was 12:22 p.m. when I arrived and was greeted warmly by the T-shirt vendor who asked how my family was doing. A man in a baseball cap went by and said, "You're serious man." A CVS employee while outside looked my way and smiled. A big guy passed by and said out loud, "CVS sells poison." By the time I got home it was 12:52 p.m. and I was tired. Twelve stores in five hours, the fiftieth day of protesting.

CVS sells poison: A typical protest day.
Day 51, Thursday, April 21, 2011

I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on the corner of 17th and P Streets NW at 8:25 a.m. The temperature was in the 50s (F) and so breezy that I had to grip the "CVS sells poison" sign close to my chest occasionally. Almost immediately a woman in her 50s started to pass me with a smiling question and her own answer, "Which is it? Oh, cigarettes."

Streams of people traveled south along 17th Street on their way to the subway or to the many offices in downtown Washington, D.C. Lots of cabs went south also. A man in a Washington Redskins baseball cap pointed toward my sign, smiled and gave a strong thumbs-up before entering the CVS pharmacy.

An older man, whom I guessed was the grandfather, was pushing an occupied stroller in my direction. He was smoking but tossed his cigarette before he reached me and entered CVS. He stopped to look at the sign before entering. When he came out of CVS he stopped to express his views that it was OK for CVS to profit from selling cigarettes. He said that he sold cigarettes and alcohol in his business even though it was against his religion. He said that his son, the father of the little person in the stroller, was home for one month from Dubai. I wished the grandfather well.

Another stroller passed, but this time the lady pushing it appeared to smile in approval. Then a District of Columbia canine police cruiser with the name Ben painted on the side parked along 17th Street. A very tall officer exited and immediately entered CVS. A woman raised her eyebrows as she went by pulling her suitcase on wheels.

A tall woman wearing a helmet dismounted her bicycle and said, "That's true," before entering the front door of CVS. When the police officer came out I said, "Good morning," but he didn't reply. He quickly entered his cruiser and went south on 17th Street. A man in a woolen winter cap, better dressed than I was for the day, said, "Got that right."

Then a delivery man yelled from the back of his truck, "What kind of poison they selling?" He seemed relieved that I was targeting cigarettes and not the products he was delivering, mostly dairy.

A female CVS employee came out to talk to the deliveryman but didn't seem concerned that I was present. Another CVS employee, a large tall man, came out the front door, took one look in my direction and reentered the store. A large lady in her 50s or 60s asked what kind of poisons were they selling. She seemed OK with our message.

Just before I left at 9:55 a.m. a woman wearing sunglasses and a scarf stopped to ask a lot of questions about my activity. She concluded that there was a contradiction for a licensed (on behalf of the community) health care provider to be selling cigarettes. She was curious about the YouTube sign around my neck. I explained how she could Google "CVS sells poison" at the public library, which she frequents, and get to see our music video. She ended with "I like to know."

CVS sells poison: The bribe and near perfect day.
Day 52, Tuesday, May 03, 2011.

It was 69 degrees Fahrenheit at 8:39 a.m. when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., a busy bus and subway route. A lady smiled as she took in the sign.

Parents with three children then went by discussing the message on the sign. A male passerby noted the YouTube sign hanging from my neck and said, "I'll check it out."

At 8:52 a.m. a big, tall man in a shirt and tie (just like the ones CVS managers wear) came out of the front door and said, "You got a nice sign there. You want some water?" I thanked him, smiled and declined the offer. He didn't seem surprised that I was demonstrating at his store. His name was Ali and his name was either embroidered on his shirt or on a nametag, I can't remember which. Offering me a drink, was that some kind of bribe or peace offering?

An older woman wearing a white hat had a good long laugh as she viewed the "CVS sells poison" sign. Then a male exhibited a positive nod as he passed by smoking a cigarette. A panhandler, who looked to be in terrible shape, as did his collection cup, slipped into my favorite spot just "stage right" to the front door of CVS. I said nothing about this. He did ask if I had any cigarettes for him. I smiled. A police car arrived and an officer got out and went into the Bank of America branch right next to the CVS. Then the panhandler disappeared without my seeing him go.

A nicely dressed man wearing a brimmed hat asked if he could ask a question. He asked why I wasn't protesting in North Carolina. He said that he worked there in the tobacco fields for six months and observed the chemicals that were sprayed on tobacco leaves. He said that he learned how bad tobacco was and proudly revealed that he had been off cigarettes for eight years. I thanked him for telling me his story. A woman smiled as she walked her coffee around Dupont Circle.

The manager of CVS stuck his head outside the door, guided someone needing directions, and then quickly retreated.

A woman with a hat pointed at my sign and said excitedly, "True." And right behind her a man nodded positively toward the sign. Then a woman said, "You're right."

Next, came waves of youngsters with name tags printed with "Close-up" on them, the organization that brings high schoolers to D.C. to see how their federal government works. Most of the students appeared to be Latinos. Some of them read out loud, "CVS sells poison." And then a woman and her family repeated the mantra.

A twenty something year old male with a female companion stepped up to me and said, "You're awesome."

A guy dressed in black asked, "Is there a bigger group?" referring to the demonstration.

I replied, "How big does it have to be?

He answered, "More than one."

To which I replied, "There's my family, friends and my granddaughter who helped me make our music video that he could find on YouTube.

As he left he said, "You're fighting the good fight."

A CVS employee passed me and I said, "Hi." and she replied, "Hi."

Then a man going through the front door entrance of CVS stopped and stared at the sign a couple times before finally entering the store. A lady looked at the sign and said, "The poison being Marlboros?"

I talked to some of the high school students from Close-up. They had just come into town yesterday. I encouraged them to check out our music video on YouTube.

Just before I left at 10:10 a.m. two high school males walking together each gave a thumbs-up which I returned. And then the T-shirt vendor finally arrived. He said that business was still bad, but that I was an inspiration to him to keep going. He said that by the time he paid his bills at the end of each month he had nothing left. He also thanked my wife for being so nice to him. When I told him the story about the CVS manager offering me water, he mentioned that the manager's name was Ali and that I should accept two waters next time, one for him.

CVS sells poison: What's the rest of the story?
Day 53, Thursday, May 5, 2011.

I arrived again at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:19 a.m. The temperature was 49 degrees Fahrenheit and breezy. Within seconds of my arrival a German tourist asked if he could take a picture of the sign and me. I asked him if he'd put the picture on the Internet to which he answered, "I want to show it to my friends." I welcomed him to Washington, D.C. He said that he had quit smoking a long time ago.

Then Ali, the CVS manager whom I met last Tuesday, came out of the front door and asked if I wanted water. I thanked him and said that I had just arrived. He wanted to know if I had been to Safeway (grocery chain) and other stores. I said that I had been to 16 CVS pharmacy stores. I asked him if someone told him that I was coming. He indicated no, but I'm not sure he was being forthright.

Ali suggested that I protest elsewhere. I told him that I actually helped business because as people came around the corner, they often passed by the front entrance and didn't realize where they were until they saw my "CVS sells poison" sign. Then they'd turn around and go back to the front door. I'm not sure he was convinced that this protest was good for business. As he reentered the store he said, "If you need water, let me know." I guess he didn't want a protester to die of dehydration on his watch at a major health care provider.

As she entered the CVS a woman gave a semi smile. Another woman said, "I agree with that," referring to our sign as she exited CVS. A man pulling his suitcase on wheels gave a mini positive nod as he passed by. Next a man in a dark suit passed and flashed raised hands in support. Then another man wearing a cap while crossing the street into the garden part of Dupont Circle said, "So doesn't everybody else?"

An older female CVS employee of twenty years came outside to take a smoke break. We talked about her desire to quit smoking. She had tried nicotine gum unsuccessfully and was now considering Chantix whose potential side effects concerned her. She said that she might try the patch next. She said that CVS discounts the price of cessation products for its employees.

Ali, the manager came out again and picked up a few cigarette butts, but left a large number of them stuck in the grooves between the segments of sidewalk in front of the store. I offered him a copy of the letter we wrote to Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Chief Medical Officer, so that he would be informed about our efforts to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes. Ali refused to accept the letter. I tried.

"You're right about that," said an lean old man using a cane as he walked with a companion past CVS. "I smoke 'em."

A female framed in sunglasses and a long trench coat came towards me and flashed a big smile of support. An elderly man wearing a flat-topped hat and glasses and pulling a suitcase with wheels followed her. He created the OK sign by connecting the ends of his index finger and thumb. That was the first time for the OK sign in 53 demonstrations. Perhaps it's a generation thing.

Then I heard a horn honking ever so loudly over and over again. The sound came from a taxicab parked about 3-4 meters in front of me at the curb. Finally the driver opened the window and asked me to tell one of the employees that her ride home had arrived. Trying to be a good neighbor I lowered my sign and went inside CVS to find the employee. When I went in a female employee said, "Can I help you?" sort of gruffly, perhaps because she thought I might be trouble carrying the sign. When I told her why I was there she went off to get the rider. I immediately went outside. When the rider came out I went to the curb and opened the door and closed it. The rider was the older CVS employee who talked to me earlier about her plan to quit smoking.

Later a woman dressed in denim smiled. Then a husband and wife in their 50s in dark clothes and sunglasses asked, "Is there another drug store around here? We just need nail clippers." I sensed that they didn't want to support this CVS, probably because of the sign I was carrying. I told them that we were not boycotting CVS and that it was OK for them to go in. They seemed relieved as they moved toward the entrance to the CVS store.

A Metro worker in uniform, perhaps a bus driver, went north talking on his cell phone. I heard him say, "CVS sells poison." When he came out of the CVS he had his back to me but I could see that he was tapping something rapidly against his palm, the way smokers sometimes do with a new pack of cigarettes. I'll never know. At 9:53 a.m. it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit when I left. There is more potentially important information about this day that can't be revealed at this time.

CVS sells poison: Who else needs anger management?
Day 54, Monday, May 9, 2011.

I was told by three independent sources that CVS had regional offices upstairs of the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., right above my nose on the days that I protested there. I had no idea. So, I decided to protest around lunchtime in order to be seen by those who worked in the regional office when they went out for lunch.

I arrived at 12:16 p.m.; the temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Immediately a woman in a wheel chair said, "That's right," responding to the "CVS sells poison" on my sign. A large old man wearing a hat and glasses gave two thumbs up. When he reappeared awhile later he sadly said that all his friends his age had died from smoking.

Then a young male walking briskly by quipped, "Got one (sign) for Seven/Eleven (convenience stores in U.S.)?" Two workers went by and asked, "What's that all about?" Next five teenage males in baseball caps (peaks in the back) asked if they could take a picture with my sign and me. We gathered together with one of the guys smoking the stub of a cigarillo while one shot the picture with his cell phone. They thanked me and went east toward the circle.

Two men in their 40s wearing ties and eye glasses went west with one of them nodding. Then a woman carrying a Filenes Basement bag in each hand went by and gave a big smile. The guy who made the remark about Seven/Eleven returned but did not say anything this time.

"I agree," remarked a man in uniform as he passed. Two guys walked by and one said, "Cool sign buddy."

Two women went by together and one smiled and pointed toward the sign. And then Ali, the CVS store manager, went by talking on his cell phone. He didn't say a word to me as he passed; he seemed very occupied on the phone. I never saw him return. A big man carrying a sign in his hand, related to labor unions I think, smiled as he went by.

Then a man wearing a T-shirt that said "Marines" stopped to talk. He said, "This sign makes sense. This country needs you." He mentioned that he was a former smoker who is really bothered when he smells smoke. In fact he is currently taking anger management classes since he beat up two guys who were bothering him with their smoke. He said that he would carry one of our signs. He also said that he'd be back. I thanked him for telling me his story. Then a man went by and asked rhetorically, "Don't they all sell this?"

Raising the palm of his hand, a tall man said, "Thank you." In contrast another guy followed with "bull sh*t".

Two women went by with one smiling who said, "CVS sells poison."

Most of my time was spent near a side door on P Street NW near the rear of the CVS store on Dupont Circle. No one came in or out of the door that I was told accessed the CVS regional offices above the store.

While on P Street a guy passed who appeared annoyed that I was there. He said something negative, which I didn't grasp. I saw him go west on P Street and then turn around and come back towards me. I decided to retreat around the corner onto Dupont Circle so that I'd be closer to the security guard who watches over the ATM machines. The annoyed guy didn't come around the corner so I went back to P Street where I saw him walking down the street with his back to me. A short time later I saw him coming back carrying some kind of newspaper. I decided to quickly move around the corner again to where the T-shirt vendor and guard were. The agitated guy this time came around the corner and angrily said, "Don't you have any thing better to do with your time?" I silently avoided any eye contact and he continued along with the wave of people going by.

At 1:50 p.m. I decided to end my protest.

CVS sells poison: Where are the regional managers of CVS?
Day 55, Tuesday, May 10, 2011.

It was a beautiful crisp spring morning at 8:02 a.m. when I arrived on P Street NW just along side of the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle. I was immediately asked what the poison was as the questioner answered his own question upon seeing the pack of Marlboros on the sign. A man with a slight limp said, "Good point," and then asked for bus directions to get to the Georgetown Hospital.

A young teenage boy stared at the sign and asked, "Don�t you smoke cigarettes?" A much older man told me about his deceased mother-in-law who was addicted to cigarettes and alcohol. He was very supportive of my activity. He suggested that I hand out cessation pamphlets. I told him that I needed to stay focused but would welcome him joining me and he could hand out the cessation pamphlets.

A young couple passed walking hand in hand toward the circle; the male smiled. Two young boys about 10 or 11 stared at the sign as they passed by. An older woman walking with a cane on 20th Street NW just behind the CVS smiled in my direction. And then a friendly big young man with a backpack said, "Hello."

A woman in her thirties in a classic suit carrying a handbag smiled as she traveled west on P Street NW. Then an older man passed by carrying a plastic bag with the Marlboro logo on it. A family of four went by with the littlest one, a boy, turning his head to the rear to look at my sign.

A young man, probably a student, said, "Liquor stores do as well."

Then a young man in his twenties wearing glasses said, "I agree with you." He told me that he had quit "cold turkey" about three years ago. He knew a lot about the effects of smoking, which he shared with me.

At 9:40 a.m. I decided to leave, not seeing anyone enter or exit the door that I was told led up to the CVS regional office. Could my three independent sources of information about the office above CVS all be wrong? There has to be more to this story.

CVS sells poison: Protecting my sources.
Day 56, Monday, May 16, 2011.

The weather reports indicated it could rain anytime Monday through Thursday, but when I arose on Monday morning it looked beautiful with a blue sky and a touch of clouds. So I decided to protest at the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle, the one with the regional offices upstairs. It was 7:41 a.m. and 64 degrees F when I arrived. As soon as I put my sign up a young woman wearing an orange top and scarf and glasses said, "Sure does sell poison."

Then a woman in a striped blouse grumbled something in my direction as she entered CVS. She came out soon so I assume she wasn't a CVS employee. Another woman this time with a backpack and headscarf stopped to stare at my sign before entering CVS.

"That's true of all cigarettes," said a male before continuing his smoking on the corner. After four head turns toward my sign, a woman finally entered CVS. A man and woman walking together entered CVS after he said, "CVS sells poison." Another woman in a dress smiled as she went by. Two men walking with a woman passed by as one of the men made reference to my sign.

(In order to protect the identity of persons who have talked to me, I have omitted certain comments and attributions.) I was informed that employees would get fired if they sold cigarettes to minors. I was also asked how my protest was going.

A man in a short sleeve shirt smiled as he went by. Then a woman in slacks flashed a big smile. A husband and wife both pulling suitcases on wheels went by with the husband giving a strong supportive nod in my direction. Then another couple went by with the husband pulling a suitcase on wheels and he said, "Right with that."

A smaller woman wearing a suit and carry two large handbags passed by and said, "Well yes it does." A guy in shorts and an orange shirt agreed saying, 'You're right." And then a man I've seen before, I believe, raised his hand with his palm showing in support. He wore glasses and was dressed entirely in black: baseball cap, shirt, pants, and two bags. He smiled also.

At 9:20 a.m. with temperature at 67 degree F, I left not seeing any of the managers whom supposedly worked upstairs. I was told that they would be in tomorrow. May 20, 2011 will mark the one-year anniversary of the first CVS sells poison protest.

CVS sells poison: Kids and the mysterious videographer.
Day 57, Monday, May 23, 2011.

A slightly built male with light hair smiled as he entered the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) shortly after I arrived at 8:41 a.m. The sun was shining; the temperature was 71 degrees F. Today would be the first protest in the second year of our effort to get CVS to "do the right thing".

Two young students, one arriving on a skateboard said, "CVS sells poison; can't they arrest you?" As they entered the store I assured them that I was following the law. Two more young boys looked at my sign and remarked, "That's bad stuff."

Then, while I was writing notes with the sign covering my face, I could feel a man standing right in front of me. I said, "How you doin'?" I lowered the sign and could see that he was wearing a suit with no tie. He asked what I was doing and asked for permission to video me using his phone. I said, "Sure." We concluded with his saying something like, "And so they are hypocrites." I said that I couldn't have said it better.

He then entered CVS; I thought that perhaps he was a regional manager that worked above the store. After all, he had on a shirt similar to what I've seen the managers wear. If he didn't come out for a long time maybe he was working upstairs.

Four young students started to enter the CVS when one shouted, "Everyone sells 'em." As they froze in the doorway I explained that CVS was a licensed health care provider. One of the boys seemed to get it and replied, "That's true, that's true." A woman smiled as she passed walking around Dupont Circle. Another woman smiled as she entered CVS carrying several bags. When she exited a short time later, she said, "Great." Shortly thereafter a little woman with white hair said, "Good for you, good for you."

Another woman smiled as she passed. Then three young boys entered CVS with one shouting, "CVS doesn't sell poison," to me as I stood at least 10 meters from them. I didn't reply.

A small man in a black baseball cap asked, "Do that (protest) at all CVSs? You're not going to stop me from smoking. I just bought a pack." Two young girls entered CVS with one chanting, "CVS sells poison."

Then another man with eyeglasses made a lot of hand signals at me as he entered the CVS. He seemed to be on our side, but I wouldn't bet on it. I saw him a couple times later this morning but he didn't make eye contact. Shortly thereafter, a man in a suit exited CVS and said, "You're right."

A woman in slacks gave a thumbs up as she walked by. A friend of mine from Georgetown walked by and recommended a book about tobacco. Then two elderly Asian women with a stroller stared at my sign. A nicely dressed elderly lady with a cane also stared at my sign.

Ali, the CVS manager, came out but he did not offer me any water this time. Too bad, I really could have used some. I mentioned to Ali that the cigarette butts in front of his store needed attention. He indicated that it was the building's responsibility to take care of it. I offered to pick up the butts if he got me something to put them in. He didn't accept the offer but said, "Nice of you to offer."

Then a tall lean dark haired young man asked "What kind of law? referring to the Toxic-Tobacco Law that was emblazoned on my T-shirt. I told him we weren't working on the Law now but were focused on getting CVS pharmacy to stop selling cigarettes.

Then I saw the guy that had taken the video of me come out of CVS and go around the corner. I followed him around the corner and saw him smoking. I retreated before he saw me. Now I thought that I was right. He was one of the regional managers who had come out for a smoke break.

I went back around the corner to talk to him. I asked him how he tolerated the loud noise of concrete being cut as part of the road repair right in front of him. He said that he used meditation to block it out. When I asked if he worked at CVS as a pharmacist he said that he was waiting for his girl friend's medication. He said that he was going to quit smoking on his 30th birthday, July 5th. He didn't want to be a bad influence on his two stepchildren. He said that he was still weighing what sort of pharmacological help he would choose. We talked about the pros and cons of the alternatives. Before he left with his girl friend's medication, he asked for my name and gave me his. He works a short distance from this CVS. I said that I would be around this CVS for awhile if he wanted to stop by during his quit attempt.

Then a couple of little girls supervised by adult women passed by and pointed my way. At first I thought that my sign had captured their attention. But, they were pointing to the image of ice cream behind me on a delivery truck. Can't win 'em all.

Then a guy wearing a hat and sunglasses passed and said, "Fabulous," and added, "You won't stop me." It was 77 degrees F when I left just before 11:00 a.m., hot and sweaty.

CVS sells poison: Demonstrating at Walgreens?
Day 58, Tuesday, May 24, 2011.

As I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) CVS around 8:35 a.m. I saw a large number of middle school children running wildly from the bus stop on P Street NW into the CVS. A short time later some of them exited yelling and racing across P Street. Then Ali, the manager of CVS, came out with his cell phone in hand. Then Miss Lucy, an employee, came out to have a smoke. She said that she was going to the other side of the building away from me. She returned rather quickly to the entrance of CVS without a cigarette in hand and in response to my query said, "I don't finish 'em." A police officer arrived and conferred with Ali. When the officer left I asked Ali, "Did the kids steal stuff?" He indicated yes and went inside his store.

A man in a brown shirt nodded as he viewed my sign. Another man in a uniform and yellow baseball cap smiled as he passed by. Then a man in a rimmed hat entered CVS and nodded in my direction. A young man vigorously tapped his new pack of cigarettes in his palm as he passed me. When he was 3 or 4 meters away he turned back to stare at my sign.

Ali, the manager, came out again, this time with papers in his hand. He walked past me and when he returned I offered what information I had regarding where the students who had stolen goods had come from. He seemed to appreciate my concern and tapped me gently on my shoulder.

A man carrying his suit coat in the extremely humid weather nodded as he passed me. A woman wearing black slacks walking around the circle smiled. A very large lady exited CVS and immediately lifted her sunglasses to read my sign with a surprised face. Three schoolboys entered CVS with one stopping to stare at my sign. When they came out I asked if they weren't suppose to be in school. One of them indicated that is precisely where they were going (a little late I thought). A very tall man made a point of getting my attention as he said, "That's nice."

A man, carrying his jacket, and his female companion went by; the man smiled. A lady in a pink sweater went by and smiled also. Two men in suits who had exited a van with diplomat license plates came out of CVS with one of them carrying a pack of Marlboros. A woman in slacks gave a partial smile. Another woman came out of CVS and firmly said, "I agree with you."

A woman going into CVS gave two looks at the sign before saying, "I agree." Then a young woman around twenty timidly asked if she could ask a question. She wanted to know if I were also demonstrating at Rite Aid and Walgreens. I said that I wasn't and that we had started with the biggest pharmacy company. We were starting at the top. I think that some people have a sense of fairness and that was what she was concerned about. As she was leaving I told her that she should check out "CVS sells poison" on YouTube and that we mention Walgreens and Rite Aid in our music video.

A man going by carrying his suit jacket gave a thumbs up. Another man nodded as he entered CVS. And then a guy shaking a bottled drink went by me and said, "Don't worry I got the non-poisonous flavored drink." And then a guy in a dark suit nodded as he entered CVS. At 10:05 the temperature was 74 degrees F as I left for home. It rained on and off, mostly off during this protest. Fortunately CVS provided an awning to keep me dry today.

No sign of the regional managers.

CVS sells poison: "That's true, that's true."
Day 59, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It was 74 degrees Fahrenheit at 8:30 a.m. when I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS, the first time that I have protested for three consecutive days. Two D.C. police officers were perched next to a squad car parked by the curb right in front of the area where I usually demonstrate. I said hello and one of the police officers responded. I think they were there because of the kids who had stolen something the day before. In five minutes one of the officers got into the car and started off with the siren blaring. I saw another police car trailing him, perhaps driven by the second officer.

A man gave two distinct stares at my sign as he entered the store. A very young girl sporting an Afro hair do gave a single prolonged stare. Then a guy with full dreadlocks almost got hit in the head by the exit door swinging open as he stopped and stared as he entered the door adjacent to the exit door.

A tall athletic man raised his hand high in support of our effort while a woman followed immediately with "Right on," as she exited the store.

Two men walked by me and the store entrance and I could hear one say, "CVS sells poison," as the other stopped and turned his head to look at my sign. As he came out of CVS another man pulled his sunglasses down so that he could read my sign more easily. A woman in a blue sweater smiled as she exited. Another woman smiled as she walked around the circle wearing dark clothing.

A couple stopped and asked if they could take a picture of my sign and me. I asked the woman if she would like to be in the shot. She said, "No, I'm a sinner." She defended the former IMF president who was recently arrested for rape.

An elderly couple entered CVS with the wife whispering to her husband, "That's true, that's true." I saw Ali, the manager, through the window. I talked to a street vendor who set up near me to sell a newspaper that covers issues related to the homeless. He rattled off all the places that sell cigarettes. When I told him that pharmacies were specially licensed to be health care providers, he seemed to get it right away that they shouldn't sell cigarettes also.

At 9:30 a.m. I headed home with my shirt soaked. I had been in direct sunshine and the temperature on the bank across Dupont Circle read 77.

CVS sells poison: No thumbs up, but a lot else.
Day 60, Thursday, May 26, 2011

It was a too bright and sunny day at 9:15 a.m. when I arrived. The temperature was already 79 degrees F on its way into the 90s. I had thought that it might be too late to start today's protest since I'd missed most of the early morning folks on their way to work. Quite to the contrary; sometimes things were happening so fast that I could hardly keep up with my notes of the noteworthy events. The sweat from my hands made my pen skip at times on the page, not helpful.

First a man in shorts acknowledged me. Another man turned twice to look at the sign as he moved away. Then a man said, "You're right on that. Cigarettes are bad" as he entered CVS wearing a black T-shirt. One passerby stopped as he was entering CVS to ask, "What does that mean?"

"I agree with you," a rotund couple (male and female) chimed in unison as they passed in front of me. A woman in orange smiled as she exited CVS and passed me. Archie, a CVS employee, went to the curb and stood and talked to the occupants of a car for a while. Then a man from Togo (in western Africa) wanted to understand what we were doing and to express his opinions. He wondered why were not going after the makers of Marlboros. He said that people need to take personal responsibility for their smoking. I gave him one of the letters we had sent Dr. Brennan. I decided to hold the letters in my hand to see if passersby requested them.

Ali, the CVS manager, came out for a few minutes to look around. I told him that I thought I was good for his business since people stop when they reach my sign noting that they had passed the entrance to his store. I still thing that he's dubious.

"Rock on," said a big man as he entered CVS. I also heard what sounded like one male saying to another, "I did it, about a month ago," perhaps referring to quitting cigarettes.

"OK you raised my curiosity," said a middle-aged man as he passed me and reached for the Dr. Brennan letter that I was using as a handout. A woman wearing jeans and a black top smiled as she passed me after exiting CVS.

Then three different people and ideas in rapid succession bombarded me. First, a guy stopped to tell me that he was allergic to nicotine. Then a guy dismounting his bicycle interjected, "You're right about that," referring to the message on my sign. Finally, a short, stocky lady in a straw hat said, " I smoked Marlboro Specials and went on a trip, really terrible."

A man who was brandishing a cigarette went by and chirped, "Thanks CVS." Then the guy with the bicycle came out of CVS and approached me asking about the YouTube sign around my neck. I told him that he should check out our music video on YouTube. I also gave him our handout made up of the original letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, urging him to "do the right thing."

A lady in an orange top smiled as she exited CVS. "Have a nice day," said the same man who said, "Rock on," earlier as he exited CVS.

I talked with the "Street Sense" vendor (homeless who sells the newspaper) for quite awhile. He said he was a smoker and appeared to be annoyed with my presence at first. However, as we continued our conversation he got the idea that I was not against people who smoke but were pointing out a contradiction in CVS's selling cigarettes and its status as a licensed health care provider. The vendor even remarked about the fact that our continued conversation brought us to a mutual understanding. He also informed me that CVS had the lowest prices on cigarettes and often had promotional sales. We had started with the right drug store chain.

A man with half a smile went by just before I left for home at 10:51 a.m. with the temperature at 83 degrees F. Sixty protests in all, four so far this week. We never did more than two in any one week before. This week we will protest all five business days. The heat is on.

CVS sells poison: Free Newports.
Day 61, Friday, May 28, 2011

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy (Washington, D.C.) at 8:53 a.m. with the temperature at 76 degrees F. A police car was at the curb. An officer got into the car shortly thereafter and rode away.

A mother and son exited the CVS and turned left. As they were walking away from me, the son turned his head back to read my sign and lost his balance, bumped his mother and almost sent her to the ground. What a start; I'm not supposed to cause trouble.

While I was taking notes on the above collision using my sign as a desk in front of my face, I heard the voice of a woman say that she had written her dissertation on cigarettes while studying a the University of the District of Columbia. She told me that it was 62 pages and I could learn more about it by contacting the university. She left before I could offer her the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, that would tell her about what we were doing.

"Oh man," said a man as he passed in front of me. A woman in a white coat smiled as she passed. Then a man in shorts and a baseball cap gave out a really good laugh as he spotted my sign.

With an Irish accent, a man carrying one fan under each arm smiled and stated, "Who doesn't sell poison for Christ's sake?" Ali, the CVS manager, exited the store for a minute or two, looked around, and retreated into the store without a word.

Husband and wife tourists passed with the husband saying out loud the name of his local (or regional) convenience store and the words "sells poison too." Americans want to be fair so they want all the collaborators to be mentioned. Or do people really think I don't know where cigarettes are sold?

Then a guy smoking a Newport stopped to chat and sit on the sidewalk. He was a jazz street musician who was carrying his guitar in a soft case on his back. He asked a lot of questions, for example, my thoughts on pot and alcohol. He said that he thought Newports had the most additives of any cigarettes, but they tasted great. He's been smoking five years and was around twenty years old. While we were talking, a stranger appeared out of nowhere and asked the musician to bum a cigarette. The musician didn't hesitate to part with his cigarette. I kidded him about the high cost of cigarettes.

Then a tourist asked if he could take a picture of the sign and me.

The almost thirty year old, who I erroneously thought was a CVS manager the other day, stopped by and I gave him John Polito's website, WhyQuit.com, so that he could prepare for his upcoming birthday quit date.

Another person asked if he could take a picture. He left saying, "Great job. Have a great day," as he flashed a thumbs up.

Then a guy with two women, prior to opening his new cigarette pack, tapped the pack very hard against his palm. I didn't think many people did that anymore since the cigarettes are so precisely constructed. But, with the prices so high, perhaps customers don't want to waste a single scrap of tobacco. A woman entered CVS after smiling.

It was 80 degrees when I left at 10:15 a.m.

CVS sells poison: Newports in my face.
Day 62, Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It was 84 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade and the sky was cloudless at 8:47 a.m. when I arrived at the CVS right on Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. A lean man in a blue shirt raised his hand in support as he entered CVS. Then a short fellow wearing a yarmulke said, "Good morning," something that almost never happens.

A man carrying a green shoulder bag raised his eyebrows as he passed by me. I heard a woman say, "Didn't I just buy Marlboros?" to someone on her cell phone as she walked past me toward the bank. A passerby in a pink suit raised her eyebrows high as she read my sign. When she exited CVS I saw her toss some cellophane into the garbage barrel, maybe from a pack of cigarettes?

Then I heard a woman say, "Hi there," while another smiled. A woman in a sundress remarked, "You're right about that," as she entered CVS.

"They sell poison at CVS; I didn't know that," said in a riley tone by an elderly man with a cane.

"Who doesn't sell 'em?" asked a man in shorts and a baseball hat as he went by. I didn't answer but planned to if he returned. Then a guy opening a pack of Newports flashed the pack in my face. I said nothing as he moved on quickly. A woman in a black top nodded three times as she gazed at my sign and entered CVS.

Then three teenage boys passed and one said, "I agree with you and tell that to the girl with the backpack." Two girls were following the three boys. The girl with the backpack appeared embarrassed as she called the vocal boy a crude name and laughed.

An old man with a white hat passed and raised his hand in support after reading my sign. Then a bicyclist exited the CVS store and stopped to ask me, "Why them (CVS)?" He seemed to immediately get it and be satisfied when I answered something like, "They're licensed by the states to be a health care provider and selling cigarettes is completely contrary to being a health care provider." Then I heard a garbage truck worker yelling out the cabin of his truck something about Marlboros as he sat stuck in traffic. He seemed to be having a good time. At least he wasn't smoking.

A young guy passed my sign and said, "It makes me want to have a cigarette." Time to go home. It was now 88 degrees in the shade and 10:00 a.m. Unfortunately I was not in the shade at all and Ali, the manager, didn't offer water. The security guard reminded me as I left that the NBA Finals were starting tonight and that Dallas was playing the Miami Heat, my team.

CVS sells poison: Is he black or white?
Day 63, Thursday, June 2, 2011

When I arrived at the CVS on Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) at 8:34 a.m. it was 76 degrees F. A policeman in shorts rode by on his bicycle. A lady with a backpack smiled. A guy in a white shirt and black pants walking with a female similarly dressed pointed to the pack of cigarettes on my sign and said, "That's my brand," and laughed.

Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door, looked around and went back inside. I told the security guard that an important person from San Francisco was coming tomorrow to demonstrate with me. The person is Ray Goldstein who provided essential documents used in litigation against the toxic-tobacco companies. The guard said, "I'd like to meet him."

Then I felt a nudge on my right shoulder with my back to the perpetrator. Immediately I heard a friendly voice say, "Get rid of cigarettes, I can't stand them." This came from an uniformed worker in blue moving to my left on the sidewalk. A female smiled as she went by.

A man carrying two bags and a woman went by with him saying, "I agree with you." Then a CVS employee in a blue shirt said, "Have a nice day."

While I was talking to the T-shirt vendor near the curb, I heard a bicyclist in a suit shout, "Thank you." I told the vendor that I was going to be joined in my protest by a colleague from San Francisco. He asked if he was black or white. He seemed to think that it would be better if I had a black person join me in this protest.

A man from Canada while walking by said, "Pharmacies haven't been permitted to sell cigarettes in Canada for years."

Ali, the CVS manager, came out again. This time he said, "Morning chief." I guess I've moved up in rank. Then I heard, "CVS sells poison," while a man was talking on his cell phone. Another very large tall man, probably from Africa said, while walking and conversing on his cell phone, "Yes they do."

I said to Ali, the CVS manager, that when CVS stopped selling cigarettes, I was going to take him to the best restaurant in Washington. When he seemed reluctant to accept the offer, I said it could be the restaurant of his choice. I think I made him laugh.

Then I heard an extensive conversation about my sign between a black female and white male as they walked past me.

Four males in open collar shirts came out the front door of CVS. Could these be the regional managers I've been looking for, or were they pharmacists and assistants? A male, wearing shorts and toting a backpack nodded as he entered the front door. Some time later two of the four men reentered CVS. A little later the other two arrived at the front door and entered. All four had hard looks at my sign, but they did not say anything to each other or me. Then I heard someone ask me if I were Dr. Gerace. The voice came from Ray Niaura, the Associate Director for Science at the Schroeder Institute, part of the Legacy Foundation. He said that he had been following my adventures on Globalink.

At 10:04 it was still only 78 degrees F and breezy when I decided to end the protest.

CVS sells poison: Protester #2, Ray Goldstein, unsung hero.
Day 64, Friday, June 3, 2011

I got to the Dupont Circle CVS earlier than usual, 7:50 a.m., so that I'd be there when Ray Goldstein from San Francisco arrived to add clout and participate in our protest. For years Ray has played a critical behind the scenes role helping injured plaintiffs in their suits against the incorrigible toxic-tobacco corporations.

It was a cool 64 degrees F with low humidity, a perfect day for protesting.

A woman immediately came out of the front door of CVS and looked at the sign and said, "That's pretty." I had made a second sign for Ray to carry, but I chose to use it myself since I was having trouble adhering the packs to the front and back of the sign. I would give Ray my long tested sign (63 protests) that I knew had no history of problems.

Then a stylish woman approached me after passing the entrance and I said, "Are you looking for the entrance?" She indicated that she was and with a smile replied, "I'm not buying that," as she pointed to the pack of cigarettes on my sign.

Dr. Dan Hunt (Association of American Medical Colleges), who has been following our progress online, stopped to ask whether we were protesting at other sites. He offered to demonstrate at a CVS on Capitol Hill, which would be great.

A lady smiled, followed by another, who shrilled, "People have free will."

Another lady stopped to discuss what we were doing and who was behind our effort. I told her that the "CVS sell poison project" was behind this effort and that Ray Goldstein had come from San Francisco to support us and extend our reach to the west coast. She also wanted to know if other pharmacies sold cigarettes. The lady concluded, "I want to cheer you on."

A man going by said, "Go for it." Next, our only thumbs down occurred. Then a young man wearing glasses stopped by as he had in the past. He was delighted to describe again that he felt better after quitting cigarettes. He's been off cigarettes for three years. Some school kids went buy saying, "What's poison?" After I replied they continued, "What about weed?" I told them that we were focused on cigarettes and asked them whether CVS sold weed.

A female walking her coffee smiled and nodded positively. Then a lady in a white top wearing black slacks stopped to ask what we were trying to accomplish. She concluded with "I just want to understand."

A guy also stopped to see what we were doing. He reacted to the pack of Newports I placed on one of the signs for the first time. This addition was prompted by a suggestion from a passerby yesterday. (Newports are very popular among African Americans.) I explained what we were trying to accomplish and he said, "It don't make sense for CVS to sell cigarettes to me." He indicated in a self-deprecating fashion that if he understood our message so easily, surely others would also. He also said that CVS charged too much for its cigarettes.

Then a guy with gray hair yelled some indecipherable stuff as he passed us by. Another fellow entered CVS raising his hand in support of our protest. Two women went by together and one flashed a thumbs up while saying, "Absolutely."

A guy and his family passed with him asking, "Got a cigarette?" They all laughed and laughed and laughed. A lady in a pretty metallic lace dress showed support and said something about "causing cancer." A very short lady said in disgust, "Cigarettes." Then a passerby gave two nods of support, one for Ray and one for me.

A customer exited CVS and said, "CVS sells poison." Ray received some cigarette smoke to the face by two assailants, one giving him a double dose. He stood his ground like a trooper. Then a man in a dark suit passed saying, "Thank you."

At 10:00 a.m. we rapped up our first multiperson demonstration thanks to Ray Goldstein one of our main men in California. The temperature had only risen to 68 degrees F but we had a hot day.

CVS sells poison: "That's quite a conversation piece."
Day 65, Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I arrived at 8:36 a.m. at the Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) CVS pharmacy (it's open 24 hours per day) on a sunny 75 degree F (and rising) day. Two women and a man entered CVS with one of the females smiling in my direction. A man on a bicycle gave a positive nod as he rode by. Then a young man asked if there were any restrooms inside. I said that I didn't know. He seemed annoyed and puzzled since he probably thought that I worked for CVS because I was carrying a sign with the CVS letters on it. He looked up at the sign again. A female gave a cold look and then another female smiled.

Then I found myself in a little cove along a bank of windows in front of CVS with an older CVS employee who was taking a smoke break. We were quite a pair. A woman stopped to point out the incongruity. The employee told me that a couple just passed us and also commented to each other about the fact that a smoking CVS employee and someone protesting CVS for selling cigarettes were peacefully gathered together. I told the employee that I would take her out to dinner along with the manager when CVS stopped selling cigarettes. She said that we probably would not be alive when that happened. I said that maybe she was right, but that the demonstrations were still serving a purpose when you consider how many children and children and parents have seen the signs and reacted to them.

A workman stopped and asked if he could buy a Toxic-Tobacco Law shirt. I told him that he'd have to come back when the T-shirt vendor arrived around 10:00 a.m. He said he had to get to work now. A lady who practiced acupuncture on cancer patients stopped to ask a lot of questions about our project. I gave her one of the letters we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS. Two men entered CVS with one saying, "CVS sells poison."

A man who paints pictures while sitting on the sidewalk started to set up his display. He asked, "Where's my boy?" referring to Ray Goldstein who joined our protest on the previous Friday all the way from San Francisco. Then he said as he pointed to my sign, "That's a conversation piece." He got that right. He also asked me if people who smoke ever ask for cigarettes. I said, "Yes."

A CVS employee walked out the front door turned right and continued on the sidewalk. She reached the Bank of America about 50 meters away, turned around and came into the front entrance of CVS, not smiling once. Then a cabby, stuck in traffic in the circle, looked out his open side window and nodded in approval. When I flashed a thumbs up to him he nodded again. A man carrying a leather bag over his shoulder nodded.

A man with an I Phone appeared to be setting up to take a picture so I stopped moving to make it easier. He came closer and said that he was a journalist. He then asked some questions about what we were trying to accomplish as he filmed me (without using film. Did he "stick me" if he used a memory stick). He also wanted to know if there were other drug chains that sold cigarettes. I told him that Walgreens and Rite Aid also sold poison and that we mention them in our music video on YouTube. He had a non-American accent but he left before I could ask him about his country of origin and give him a handout. Then a lady in a white coat came out of CVS, either a pharmacist or pharmacy technician. She walked toward the bank right in front of me and didn't look in my direction. When she returned she said something under her breath that I didn't understand as she passed me and entered CVS. Later in the morning I saw her leave the front door and turn left. She was carrying a CVS grocery bag.

The man I once erroneously thought was a suit from CVS came by to pick up some medications. He said that he had downloaded the smoking cessation material from WhyQuit.com and thought they'd be helpful.

About 40 to 50 middle school or young high school students, probably on a field trip, passed my sign and me on the sidewalk. I could hear them discussing the sign with comments like "I agree" and "CVS sells poison." A man with gray hair smiled before a woman in a white blouse and black skirt smiled. Finally a man in a suit rode by on his bicycle and said loudly, "Thank you." I appreciated that comment with the sun blaring on me and the temperature at 82 F in the shade; it was 10:03 a.m. and time to go home.

Sixty-five protests have been completed. How many will it take before CVS "does the right thing?"

CVS sells poison: "I got ya."
Day 66, Thursday, June 9, 2011

"How's it going?" said a man in a baseball cap as I came to my spot in Dupont Circle (Washington, DC), just in front of the CVS pharmacy at 7:31 a.m. with the temperature already a hot 82 degrees F on its way to 100. The painter/former panhandler waved to me as he set up his sidewalk studio. His name is Carlton. He told me he was working early in the morning because of the heat wave. He uses ripped up sponges for paintbrushes. That's recycling.

A man walking by looked, walked a little more and turned around to look at my sign again. Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door and waved to me. He retreated and I never saw him again. No offers of water. A man spun out the front door to get a look at my sign as he exited.

I said, "Morning," but didn't get a reply from an uniformed worker. Then a woman came out the front door and smiled. A man in shorts standing near an ATM flashed a thumbs up.

A female in a light blue blouse exited CVS and gave a smile. A smoker went by and mumbled something in my direction. I saw a man fumbling with the packaging of a double pack (special sales promotion) as he exited CVS. Then a lady with glasses and ear buds came out of the CVS and smiled. A man going in looked at my sign and gave a big smile with lots of teeth.

A man dressed in brown with glasses stopped to ask the question, "Why CVS?" I explained that CVS was one of the largest health care providers and that they were licensed by the states for that purpose and yet they were advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes, the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S., causing cancer, heart disease and lung disease. CVS sold cigarettes at over 7,000 stores and 500 medical clinics. He said that people should be free to make a choice to which I replied that we were not boycotting CVS or interfering with smokers in anyway. We were just asking CVS to stop selling cigarettes. He said, "I got ya," and with a smile he left and crossed Dupont Circle.

A man in summer shorts nodded and a tourist smiled. Two women reacted to my sign as they entered the front door of CVS. Two men went by, one in a beige suit whom I think said, "Nice," as he passed me. When they exited the man in the beige suit had a pack of Marlboros in his hand. A male teenager in a group of teens said, "I need a cigarette." Finally, an old man and his wife went by with the husband explaining, "They sell cigarettes." Then they went by in the other direction silently.

By 9:11 a.m. I was completely soaked with perspiration as I prepared to leave with the temperature at 87 degrees in the shade. I wasn't in the shade at all during our 66th protest day. Last summer Washington, DC broke a record with 67 days over 90.

CVS sells poison: "The big wigs"
Day 67, Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I arrived at 8:09 a.m. on a cool sunny morning at the Legacy Foundation building between 17and 18 streets on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C. right next door to the Black Caucus Foundation.

A female in a brown outfit smiled after taking a long look at my sign and then proceeded into the building. A man with shoulder length hair wanted to know if this were the headquarters of CVS. I could see that many of the passersby sought out the name of the building I was standing in front of just after they read the sign.

Then a middle aged friendly, white haired lady headed for the front door of the building but stopped to ask, "CVS, it's the only one?" After entering the building, she came out again to ask, "Why CVS?" I explained that CVS claims to be a major health care provider, yet they continue to advertise, promote, distribute and sell cigarettes. She then wondered out loud, "Why aren't you at CVS?" I said that I had been to 16 CVS stores and had demonstrated 66 times already. I needed a change of pace and I hope that the Legacy Foundation would join my efforts. I told her that I had not received any responses from the Legacy Foundation to my emails describing our efforts. I gave her a copy of the letter that we had sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, urging him to work on getting CVS to stop selling cigarettes. She said that she would pass the letter on to the "big wigs". I told her that she was a big wig.

Then a man on a bicycle on the sidewalk flew by saying, "CVS sells poison". A male and female couple walked past me along Massachusetts Avenue and the man said, "CVS sells poison."

As she entered the front door of the Legacy building, a female employee gave a thumbs up. Another bicyclist flew by with the rider shouting out, "[expletive] CVS, He quickly turned into the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies front entrance.

Amber Bullock, Executive Vice President for Program Development, on her way into the Legacy building stopped to say that she had been following our progress on Globalink. I thanked her for coming by. Another lady on her way into the building stopped to say, "Thank you." She also pointed out that organizations (anti-tobacco) shouldn�t accept money from CVS. She said, "You can't have it both ways."

A female said, "Good morning." Cars were lined up in front of me stuck in traffic most of the morning. Some people waved and others honked although at whom they were honking was not always clear.

One lady came out of the door after having just gone in to say, "Thank you for what you're doing." She said that she noticed the back of my T-shirt after she had first gone past me. Another employee smiled as she entered the front door. Then a young worker gave a very enthusiastic wave as she opened the front door to enter.

Surprising me, a diminutive shy young woman passed me in close proximity as she turned right to approach the front entrance and said, "Hi, Terry." I'm sorry but I didn't recognize her. Then a man with a red beard approached and extended his hand. I shook it as he said, "What's up?" I told him that we were trying to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes and that we hoped Legacy would help. He went inside the building.

Across Massachusetts Avenue I could see two women walking their coffee and trying to decipher what my sign was about. They could see me watching them and when they solved the problem, they looked across the street and smiled to let me know that they got it. A man in summer shorts, unusual among the passersby on a work weekday, said, "That's very true," referring to my sign.

Then a grumpy lady said that other stores like Target and Rite Aid also sold poisons. I agreed with her and joked that my sign was too small to cover everyone. Unfortunately she moved too quickly for me to tell her that Target stopped selling cigarettes years ago. Oh well.

Just before I left at 9:40 a.m. I greeted Ray Niaura, Associate Director of Science at the Schroeder Institute, whom I had met a few weeks ago at the CVS on Dupont Circle.

CVS sells poison: City Council and the man with the suitcase.
Day 68, Friday, June 17, 2011

It was 69 degrees F and overcast at 8:30 a.m. when I arrived at the very busy Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy in Washington, D.C. Right away a bicyclist went by on the sidewalk and said, "Thank you." Not as appreciative, a young man passed, read the sign and let out a loud laugh. A very large man wearing a sport coat passed and gave a nod of approval. Then a male in his 20s grunted something as he entered CVS right near where I was perched. When he came out he wasn't carrying cigarettes as far as I could tell.

A female wearing glasses and slacks smiled as she went by. A male and female couple passed as the male said, "They sell poison?" Then a young man in dark glasses asked if he could take my picture. I thanked him. I asked him where he was from and he said Columbia. He proceeded to tell me that in his country cigarettes were very inexpensive and that they were even sold as singles, making them highly available to children. He also relayed a story about the influence of tobacco money on politicians. Sound familiar?

Then David Catania, District of Columbia City Council Member and Chair of the Health Committee dressed in a suit, started to pass me without noticing our sign. I said, "David," which slowed him down. "We're trying to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes." He gave us a smile and thumbs up.

When Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door he said, "What's up chief?" I told him that CVS was getting ready to stop selling cigarettes and that he better start preparing to put some other products behind the check out counter shelves. A lady in a blue dress flashed a smile. A man approached me looking for a Kinkos so he could make four copies of his resume. The security guard asked where I had been lately. I told him that I was in mourning because the Miami Heat lost (just kidding). I then had a short discussion with the security guard over why the Miami Heat lost in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

A young college student from Lawrence University in Wisconsin stopped to ask about what I was doing. He wanted to talk about Prohibition and similar issues. He seemed to appreciate the contradictory behavior of CVS. A female exited CVS and smiled in my direction. Another female said, "Sell poison?" A young man came out the front door of CVS and immediate started to bang his new cigarette pack against his palm, making sure that I heard him. I've seen this behavior before.

A young man with earphones on extended his arm for a fist bump. I met him half way and he smiled. I was warned by one of my sources that one of the executives was going to be leaving this CVS store carrying a suitcase. I waited for some time and finally a man in his late 50s or early 60s came out of the front door of CVS wearing a suit and carrying a black rectangular bag with a flip up top, the kind that sales people carry. He looked at my sign with a fixed stare and continued around the circle, perhaps going to the other nearby CVS, one that doesn't have a pharmacy. A lady with a large shoulder bag went by and smiled. Two women went past and both nodded in my direction.

At 9:30 a.m. I left. The temperature had only climbed to 70F, no challenge.

CVS sells poison: More protesters.
Day 69, Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I brought two signs today although I wasn't sure that the rain would hold up for our 69th protest. I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:27 a.m. There was slight drizzle. The sky was completely overcast and the temperature was 72 degrees F.

I stationed myself at the front door and immediately a CVS employee came out to ask me what I was doing. I explained to him that we liked the CVS employees and were only concerned that CVS, a licensed health care provider, was selling cigarettes, a very dangerous product. He suggested that our campaign would be better if we had demonstrators at various CVS stores across the city at the same time. I told him that I thought that was a good idea and then he went back inside the store.

In a short time, Dr. Dan Hunt, a physician in the DC area, arrived to join the protest. He's very tall and adds a lot of stature to our operation. After a brief orientation, Dan joined the protest. Dan actually holds the CVS sells poison sign down so that people can see it, as opposed to up where it would be way over most peoples' heads.

The guy with the earphones who gave me a supportive fist bump the other day passed by again and raised two fingers in a victory salute today. Two females smiled in rapid succession next. Another woman said, "Good morning," as she entered the CVS store. A female passerby stopped to inquire about what we were doing. She asked what organization we belonged to and I said, "The CVS sells poison project." She said, "Thanks," and went off to work.

On exiting the CVS pharmacy another female turned toward me and said, "Like your sign." A woman carrying a purple tote bag and wearing a dress broadly smiled. Then four young teenagers of varying heights, straight out of central casting, stopped to take in our signs. I wish I had a video of what happened next. Dr. Dan Hunt captured the four boys' attention and beautifully explained the importance of remaining smoke free throughout adolescence. The shortest member of the group summarized by saying that what CVS was doing would be "just like a doctor selling cigarettes".

A woman with a long black outer garment and head vale gave a strong thumbs up. Shortly thereafter several women walked abreast past us, one wearing traditional middleeastern clothes. The youngest with the most Western clothes flashed a thumbs up.

Then about 40 to 50 young teenage boys and girls marched by on the sidewalk. From the street, with Dr. Dan Hunt at the beginning of their group and me near the end, it must have looked like one big demonstration in front of CVS. Near the last third of the group someone asked about the YouTube sign around my neck. I explained that they could check out the "CVS sells poison project" by going to YouTube.

I introduced Dr. Dan Hunt to the security guard, Officer Sapp. Later, Dr. Hunt pointed out that Officer Sapp was explaining what we were doing in front of CVS to a man in a long sleeve shirt and tie. Nice to have the additional enthusiastic help.

I pointed out to Dr. Hunt a man dressed entirely in black crossing Dupont Circle who had told us on previous days that he had been off cigarettes for over three years now.

At 9:45 a.m. we ended our protest; the sun never broke through the clouds and the temperature rose to only 73 degrees F. Dr. Dan Hunt wanted to know when we could do this again. Very soon.

CVS sells poison: "Man, I like your message."
Day 70, Tuesday, June 29, 2011

"Amen, amen," said an older man with a white hat and "Music Village" printed on the back of his T-shirt. It was 7:53 a.m. with the temperature at 73 degrees F. Next a lady said, " CVS sells poison," out loud as she passed the pharmacy on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

Then a female CVS employee walked by me really fast and slipped through the front door. A young man walked into the store laughing after reading my sign. Next a man wearing shorts and a Dallas Cowboys baseball cap said to me, "You ought to stand out in front of the Capitol (home of US Congress). This country should outlaw smoking."

Another man wearing a baseball cap and shorts kidded, "Right on brother; that used to be my brand (referring to the Marlboro pack on my sign)."

Then a guy wearing his baseball cap backwards asked, "Cigarettes in there, cigarettes in there?" pointing to the pack attached to the front of my sign. One of my sources advised me that all the managers were present today. A man went by me and turned his head backward three times to stare at my sign. A female in a brown top nodded and smiled as she passed. Another female in a purple dress smiled. A lean elderly lady in a skirt said, "You're right," as she passed me to enter CVS.

"I agree with you," said a woman on her way into CVS. Then there was a piecing vocal screech and when I looked in its direction I saw a bicyclist with her back wheel against the front of a SUV going around Dupont Circle. She continued bicycling, apparently unhurt, but very upset.

A CVS employee came out the front door and said, "Hi, how you doing?" For the first time I said "Good morning" to nearly everyone who passed in front of me but I didn't get more than four responses to my greetings. Most of the people probably couldn't hear me because they were wearing earphones.

Then I saw two guys who were wearing ties and dress shirts walking around the front corner of CVS. I followed them thinking perhaps that they were CVS managers who meet above the CVS store. When I got around the corner, one of the men asked if he could take my picture. He set me up near the front door with some coaching and then told me that he was going to post the picture on Facebook. I thanked him.

"Man, I like your message," said a young female as she exited the CVS store. Then one of my sources said, "Don't forget." A man came out of CVS with a pack of cigarettes, approached the trash barrel to discard the cellophane rapping and began to bang his pack against his palm, looking over at me to make sure I was getting his message, whatever it might be.

Three men in ties and long sleeve shirts went into the CVS store together. Were they the CVS managers?

At 9:30 a.m. I ended the 70th outdoor protest with the temperature at 78 degrees.

CVS sells poison: "Muggy out here."
Day 71, Wednesday, July 06, 2011

It was 8:08 a.m. when I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) CVS pharmacy. The temperature was 80 degrees; the sky was overcast and the humidity near maximum. The first comment came from a tall lean male who said, "Cigarettes are cool." Next a male teenager remarked, "I like it," referring to my sign while pointing his index finger up in the air. A mixed group of teens went by and one of the girls raised her arm in support and shouted, "Whoa."

A female wearing a backpack gave a supportive smile. Then a CVS female employee passed me and entered the store in silence. A neighbor of mine then came by and asked how things were going. He offered his support. A tall passerby said, "Good morning," something I don't often hear. A male smiled.

A cab driver, going slowly around the circle with his right window open, honked to get my attention and then he gave a thumbs up and smile. An older man with gray hair came out of CVS and stood staring at my sign for a while in silence. Then he said, "Muggy out here."

I saw Ali, the CVS manager, in front of the store entrance, but I was too far away to get his attention, although he probably noticed me.

A lady on a bicycle nodded in approval as she rode by on the sidewalk. Then a young fellow asked if he could take my picture. I posed; he shot the picture and I thanked him. He said that he was going to post the picture on Facebook. I asked for his name so I could trace it down. He said that he was Francisco. A tall male student nodded in support. A female smiled. A lady in a black dress came from my left and as she approached she raised both of her thumbs simultaneously. A woman in a dress smiled as she passed.

Another woman gave a thumbs up but she did it twice with the same thumb. Then just before I ended the 71st outdoor protest at 9:38 a.m. a man in walking shorts and wearing sunglasses said,"Right on," as he passed in front of me. A little sprinkle of rain started.

CVS sells poison: "I don't believe you."
Day 72, Monday, July 11, 2011

I decided to protest on Monday since the rest of the week looked extremely hot. When I arrived at 7:53 a.m. one of the CVS employees was standing outside smoking a cigarette. She greeted me warmly. The temperature was already 78 degrees F. Then a man in beige colored clothes and photographer's equipment bag took some pictures of me with my sign as I posed.

A man in a hat said, "Good morning," and nodded as he exited the CVS on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. A lady standing in line at the Bank of America ATMs gave a broad smile in my direction as I approached. A former neighbor from 34th Street NW in Georgetown passed as I greeted him.

A young man with round rimmed glasses who has walked by this site in the past asked, "Are they [CVS] going to stop?" Then a father and son went by with the father saying, "CVS sells poison. Cigarettes." A teenage boy smiled and laughed as he entered CVS. A female said, "I agree," as she entered the store. A man came around the corner and said, "Sells poison, sells poison."

A teen then passed and turned his head twice to take in my sign. A man with sunglasses and a straw hat stopped to ask for some cigarettes. He said I was probably being paid at least $10 an hour. I said that I wasn't being paid. He said that he didn't believe me. I had to be receiving pay. I told him that I wasn't paid and had actually paid $35 for the sign. He left saying he didn't believe me.

I later learned from the security guard at the Bank of America ATMs that he explained to this man that I was voluntarily conducting this protest and that we Americans are free to protest peacefully. Looking back on this episode, I think that the man may not have been able to read my sign. Therefore he might have concluded that the sign was an advertisement for Marlboros and of course I would be paid for my work promoting the brand.

I helped the employee I saw the first thing in the morning into her son's SUV and urged her to belt up before I closed the door and said good bye.

A woman in a black top smiled as she exited the CVS. A tall man smiled as he entered the store. I saw a very large man setting up to take a picture of me with his mobile phone 20 meters away. I asked if he wanted me to come closer. He responded by taking a few pictures and coming right up to me to say that his father died of lung cancer and that he supported all efforts like mine. I thanked him for telling me his story.

At 9:30 a.m. it was 83 degrees in the shade and very humid. Before I left the security guard told me that he informed the skeptical passerby that I was voluntarily protesting in front of CVS. He also informed me that I had been photographed earlier by someone using a telephoto lens who was standing near him. Seventy-two protests completed. How many more are needed before CVS "does the right thing?"

CVS sells poison: The Angriest Man Yet.
Day 73, Monday, July 18, 2011

When I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy (Washington, DC) at 7:26 a.m. a Red Bull (so-called energy drink) delivery truck was parked along the circle right in front of my protest site. It was 75 degrees F already.

A male smiled as he entered the front door and a female nodded and smiled as she exited. Another female reacted with raised eyebrows as she entered the store. Next a 4 or 5 year old boy, accompanied by a male guardian and an even younger boy, stood in front of my sign and said out loud, "C-V-S." A former neighbor from the Georgetown section passed on foot on his way to work and we greeted each other. And shortly thereafter another former neighbor honked his horn to get my attention as he drove around the circle.

A woman with a white blouse and black slacks smiled and said, "Hello," as she walked by. Two women passed together and both smiled. Two teenagers entered the CVS with one urging the other to check out my sign. Next a lady in shorts approached me and asked what I was trying to do. I explained that we were trying to get a licensed health care provider to stop selling cigarettes. She immediately said, "I got it," and went off with a smile.

An exotic looking lady in her native country's dress and black turban looked up at my sign and said, "Whoa". A man came out the front door and tossed the cellophane from his cigarette pack into P Street right next to the CVS. A lady raised her right arm in support after seeing my sign.

Another female smiled as she entered the CVS. A man sporting dreadlocks as he entered said, "Oh yeah, good thing that I don't smoke." Another guy said out loud, "CVS sells poison." An elder lady with white hair looked at my sign and said, "Right."

Then came perhaps the angriest man I have encountered in my 73 days of outdoor protests. I was occupied writing in my tiny notebook when a man approached from my right side and started to yell directly into my face. He rattled off stuff before I could even attend to his presence so I missed the gist of his opening remarks (or tirade). He had broad features and a big head and spoke as if English were not his native language. He asked if I thought that I was smarter than the public (or him?). I chose not to answer that question. Good idea. He said something about his belief that the public already knew about what my sign was saying. I said that we still needed to teach children. He replied that parents did that job. Then he disappeared.

When Ali, the manager, exited the store I kidded him that I did not allow anyone to pass in front of me without their first going inside his store. He laughed. A young female said, "CVS sells poison." Then a male and female walking together smiled and nodded. A woman stopped to tell me that Canadian pharmacies had stopped selling cigarettes years ago. She said, referring to CVS's sale of cigarettes, "It makes no sense." Just before I left at 9:15 a.m. (temperature 79 degree F), a young man entered CVS and flashed a solid thumbs up.

CVS sells poison: "I wish I could quit."
Day 74, Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I arrived at the 19th Street CVS near the entrance to the Dupont Circle Metro (Washington, DC subway) at 8:27 a.m. Large waves of people on their way to work came off the top of the escalator. Caf� tables dotted the sidewalk, some occupied by people who were smoking outside due to DC rules.

As soon as I raised my sign a woman went by and said in disgust, "It's a choice, it's a choice, it's a choice. Then a young female smiled and said, "Good morning." Another woman approached me and said that she was from Calabasas, CA (outside LA) where outdoor smoking is banned nearly everywhere. And then she proudly punctuated her remarks with, "It was my legislation."

A female passerby nodded in support. Two men went by going toward the Metro while continuously pointing at my sign and poking each other. A female CVS employee silently entered her store.

Then a young man moved in close to me as he passed and sadly said, "It's true (referring to my sign's message) and I wish I could quit." Another young man passed from behind me and said, "That's good work man."

A young woman came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of me. I posed. She took the picture and said that someone she knew worked for a tobacco company (boy friend?) and that she's on him about that. She wanted the picture for him.

A woman went by and raised her eyebrows when she saw the sign. Then a man going into the adjoining office building gave three solid nods of approval as he entered. The building has medical offices in it.

Then another female gave a thumbs up and smile. Coming out of the same building, another woman smiled. Approaching me a woman nodded and said, "I agree," as she pulled her very large suitcase on wheels. Then at 9:45 a.m. a woman came out of the building and said enthusiastically with a big smile, "This is a very effective campaign?" I thanked her.

I left my post and went to the CVS on Dupont Circle until 10:05 a.m. The pedestrian traffic was fairly light by the time I got there. A woman entered and shook her head (negatively) as she entered the CVS. She was carrying a pack of cigarettes when she exited. A female smiled before I left, sweating profusely from the full sun. It was 84 degrees F in the shade.

The next protest will be number 75. Should we do something different to commemorate or do the increasing numbers indicate that we are not successful in getting CVS to "do the right thing."

CVS sells poison: Picture Day
Day 75, Monday, July 25, 2011.

I went again to the CVS store on 19th Street near Dupont Circle where waves of workers come off the top of the escalator, and to a CVS pharmacy right on the Circle. Today marked the 75th outdoor protest. I arrived at 8:10 a.m.; the temperature started out at a humid 82 degrees F.

As soon as I raised my sign a lady sitting in a white SUV parked along 19th Street yelled out that she thought that my campaign was not very effective, and that it looked like I was promoting cigarettes to her since all she could see from a distance was the big Marlboro logo on my sign. She said that she had worked for corporate Philip Morris and that the workers were "cynical," although maybe she said "sinister." She also said that the workers took up smoking so that they could fit in.

A female carrying a backpack came out of the office building adjoining CVS and flashed a smile in my direction. Then a man in a green T-shirt and walking shorts asked if he could take a picture. A little girl in twin pigtails passed and checked out my sign. A guy on a bicycle rode by and asked if I could "give up some Newports," responding to the pack on my sign. A man dressed in a suit tried to get his female partner to check out my sign as they entered the office building. I could hear the sound of someone banging his pack of cigarettes against his palm.

A young man asked if he could take my picture and I posed. He said that he wanted his girlfriend who worked for the Legacy Foundation (anti-tobacco) to see what we were doing. A very enthusiastic guy approached wearing horn-rimmed glasses saying, "Love it." He said he used to work for a tobacco company but no longer did. He was very enthusiastic.

A guy wearing ear phones got close and said, "Why one store?"

I wasn't sure what he was asking so I said, "Do you mean we should be at Rite Aid and Walgreens also?"

He said, "No. You should be talking to headquarters." I said that we had tried but with no obvious success to date. He asked whether I thought that we could have an effect standing in front of one store. Guess my answer.

Two fellows in white dress shirts asked if they could take pictures. Of course I let them. I heard the word "poison" come out of the mouth of a little boy going by. Then another series of bangs occurred as someone slapped his pack against his palm.

At 9:35 a.m. I walked over to the CVS pharmacy on the Circle. To protest I had to stand in direct sunlight. I immediately saw a CVS employee smoking outside. She retreated inside but told me she was waiting for a cab. When the cab arrived I went inside the store to get her. I helped her into the cab and off she went. A man wearing shorts, a baseball cap, and sunglasses walking around the circle said, "I love your sign man."

A lady wearing a white jacket and blue skirt smiled as she went by. I left at 9:45 a.m. soaked with perspiration. I couldn't wait to get home for breakfast and liquids. The temperature on the bank across the Circle read 87 degrees F. Seventy-five protest days down. How many to go before CVS "does the right thing?"

CVS sells poison: More Pros than Cons
Day 76, Monday, August 1, 2011

As soon as I arrived at the 19th Street CVS store, a woman in scrubs exited the office building adjacent to the CVS. While talking on the phone she said, " They sure do," referring to the "CVS sells poison" on my sign. It was 7:50 a.m. and shady. I took off my sunglasses. A man gave a positive nod. A woman in a turquoise top smiled.

Two obese women in colorful uniforms like those warn on the children's wards of hospitals went by with one of them saying, "Newports, how much are they?" Then a small man in spectacles walked right up to my sign and said, "CVS."

Then a young man about six feet tall from New York City approached me with a lit cigarette in hand. He said that he had tried to get something going on the Internet to get people together to fight pharmacies that sold cigarettes. (He said that he didn't get a big response.) He saw the hypocrisy in the activities of the drug stores. He said that he wanted to quit. He said that having the large Marlboro signs staring at him as he checked out made it much harder to quit smoking. The drug stores' marketing really interfered with his attempts to quit. I thanked him for telling me his story and referred him to our YouTube video.

Then a guy in a suit went by with a companion and trying to be funny he said speaking of CVS, "What a stock!" That was after he remarked about my "billboard."

A female pedestrian smiled, nodded and smiled again as she toted four bags of various sorts. A short lady wearing a blue top and bandana on her head smiled as she pulled her wheeled suitcase that was nearly as big as she was. Then a small man approached and said that I should be picketing Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boener since he continues to smoke where he shouldn't.

A man wearing glasses and carrying a leather shoulder bag slowed down to ask," Are you on YouTube?" I told him how to find our music video.

The streams of people going to work kept pouring off the top of the escalator at the subway station. I got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from a woman on her cell phone who was entering the CVS. A young man passed on my right from behind pulling a large suitcase on wheels. He sarcastically commented, "They all sell 'em." Then I heard a sustained slapping of a pack of cigarettes against the smoker's palm. Longer than usual and more surprising from a female carrying two shoulder bags. Somehow I think that the packing behavior is sublimated aggression against me. Maybe? A lady wearing a green top and tan skirt smiled purposefully at me as she crossed the street to the other side.

At 9:20 a.m. I left to go to the CVS on the Circle. I ran into the T-shirt vendor whom I had missed the last few times because he was arriving after I had left. He said that business had been very good the past three days with many visitors in town. Lots of children went by. A very unkempt man exited CVS and said calmly, "It's like over the counter watered down medicine," referring to cigarettes.

I left at 9:50 a.m. with the temperature at 84 degrees F in the shade where I wasn't unfortunately. By the time I walked home, I was totally saturated.

CVS sells poison: Six years of protests?
Day 77, Wednesday, August 3, 2011

When I left my house it was drizzling a little but I decided that I could stand under the awning at CVS on Dupont Circle if the rain came down hard. I arrived at CVS at 7:44 a.m. The temperature was 79 degrees F; the sky was overcast, no hot beating sun. A lady toting two bags immediately said, "Good morning." Then the oldest long-time employee at this CVS came out to have her cigarette break.

A man wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap said, "Good for you." A lady going into CVS wearing a backpack said, "Good morning," and smiled to me. A guy in clear glasses gave a micro nod. Another pedestrian, this one in a tan suit, turned his head backward twice to view my sign. A gray haired woman in pedal pushers exited CVS and smiled. A man going into CVS gave out a loud, "Newports!"

Coming out of CVS a woman in a dress with backpack smiled in my direction. Two young male students with backpacks said, "Hello," as they entered CVS.

Then a panhandler started asking for change right in front of the "No Loitering" sign, my regular spot. Business wasn't great. He indicated that he got my sign and said, "You got that right." He asked if I smoked and whether my relatives smoked. I told him that all the ones who smoked are dead. He asked who was making me protest. I pointed to my head.

"That's true," said a man seeing my sign as he exited CVS. Then a guy in dark baseball cap and shirt stopped to talk about how difficult it is to quit smoking, especially if you also drink alcohol. We talked about substituting physical activity for alcohol. I suggested jumping rope and he said that he just got one (Was he telling the truth?) He said a friend was going to take him to the YMCA. I asked him to stop back and let me know how he's doing. He said that he didn't buy cigarettes anymore. A good sign.

A short gray haired lady in a dress came out of CVS and remarked, "I like that," as she peered at my sign.

A young woman with braids coming out of CVS and asked if she could take a picture. Then she said, "I'm going to tweet that." I thanked her. Another lady smiled. "Yes," said a man in a uniform as he entered CVS. Then a couple entered CVS; the male had dreadlocks and he clapped his hands after spotting my sign.

Ali, the manager, came out to talk to the panhandler. He must have been persuasive because the panhandler moved down the block to the front of the bank where I saw him sitting on the edge of a tree box. Then a man that I've seen often said, "Keep up the fight man."

A CVS employee on a smoke break came over to me to ask what I was doing. She said that she has worked here for six years and that I must have been here for the entire six years. It is interesting to see how people overestimate the amount of time I have been at these protest sites. This employee has tried to quit smoking. She said that the stress of working at CVS made her smoke. She tried the gum but thought that it was also bad for her health. I explained that cigarettes were much more dangerous than the gum. A woman came out of CVS and smiled.

At 8:50 a.m. I went over to the CVS on 19th Street near Dupont Circle. I heard a balding man in a white dress shirt walking past my spot say, "Thank you for your service," and then he flashed a thumbs-up. I have heard this comment before and there seems to be some sadness in the tone. I'm thinking that people who express this sentiment have lost someone to the ravages of smoking, or perhaps they're doctors who have felt the pain of their patients dealing with the horrible consequences of smoking.

Then a big man turned his head two times with smiles both times. Three ladies walking abreast all turned their heads at the same time to read my sign. A tall youngster with a backpack and black T-shirt took a picture. Then another tall young man stopped to try to understand what I was doing. He said it was "contradictory" what the drug stores were doing. He said, "I hate cigarettes, probably not more than you do."

I left at 9:30 a.m. without much sweat because it remained overcast nearly the entire time outside.

CVS sells poison: "How f**kin' ridiculous �"
Day 78, Monday, August 8, 2011

The first response I received was a shout out for "YouTube!" when I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 7:29 a.m. with the temperature at 76 degrees F. Ali, the CVS manager, came outside right away and deposited something in the garbage can near the curb. He said to me, "What's goin' on?" and retreated quickly into the store. Then a regular supporter passed by and we nodded to each other.

A female in slacks smiled and said "Good morning," before entering CVS. Another lady with short hair wearing a blue T-shirt sharply said, "I hate cigarettes; I hate people who smoke, my grandfather," as she slipped into the front entrance.

Then a large group of late teens wearing similar T-shirts came around the corner directly in front of my sign. One of the girls gave a big smile and a two handed thumbs-up when my sign caught her eyes. Then a man in walking shorts stopped to say that he never thought about, "How f**kin' ridiculous it was for pharmacies to sell cigarettes until you (me) started this (protest)." He also said that he recently discussed how wrong this was with his family in New York City.

"Yes they do (sell poison)," said another guy in walking shorts, sunglasses and a baseball cap with the peak in front. With eyebrows raised a man stared at my sign as he entered the front door of CVS. Then an elderly female CVS employee came outside to take a smoke break. We talked a little. She was very cordial as usual. A young lady came down the sidewalk and laughed at my sign. One of my old neighbors passed by and we greeted each other.

Two police cars pulled over a driver going around Dupont Circle right in front of me. I then left to go to the CVS store on 19th Street right off the Circle and in front of the escalators rising steeply from the Metro (subway). There were two police cars parked at the curb right near the Metro exit. Near the curb were a violinist and base guitar player nicely amplified.

Then I saw a woman banging her pack of cigarettes aggressively into her palm. Then a man joined her for a smoke.

A woman dressed completely in white, jacket and skirt, came over to me and politely asked, "What do you want them to do?" I said that we wanted them to stop selling cigarettes. CVS is a licensed health care provider and it is against the professional code of health care providers (World Health Organization) to sell toxic-tobacco products. She smiled and said, "I never thought about it that way." Two young girls carrying packages said out loud, "CVS sells poison," as they entered the store.

A towering man angrily shouted, "They all sell 'em. Why CVS? Talk at every store." I've mentioned this strong response before and I'm still not sure what the motivation behind is. Do people who have this reaction just want to make sure I'm being fair to CVS; do they have relatives who work at CVS; do they want to make sure that I point out all the sellers of poison. Any ideas?

At 9:15 a.m. I ended our 78th protest day after watching two streams of passengers looking like an enormous group of wedding attendants exiting the escalators to nuptial music played by the violinist and guitarist. The music made this day's protest easy.

CVS sells poison: "They're opening one in my bathroom."
Day 79, Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I went for a quick twenty minute run before showering and heading to the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle at 8:00 a.m. It was 71 degrees F and sunny. A male street and sidewalk sweeper immediately greeted me with "Good morning." A man in a blue T-shirt going into CVS looked carefully at my sign and then smiled. A younger man, perhaps a college student, wearing headphones smiled at me as he also entered CVS.

Then a guy with glazed-eyes, disheveled and in shorts, said, "Maybe you should start smoking." He held up what appeared to be a joint for me to see. I didn't see anything that looked like a filter.

Off to my right at a distance I saw a lady toting two large bags, one on each shoulder, trying to take a picture of my sign and me. She didn't ask permission but I stood very still anyway. Then a guy asked, "What's the poison?" He was on his way into CVS. He said that he didn't smoke but that he got my point. When he exited the store he gave me a thumbs-up and said, "Take care."

A man with drooping pants said, "CVS sells poison," as he entered the store. When he came out he shouted, "CVS SELLS POISON," as he approached the street. He asked if I were being paid. Then he offered to get me a diet Pepsi. I thanked him for the offer. A lady wearing a white top went by smoking. I liked the smell.

When I looked to my left, a man wearing glasses, a long sleeve shirt and a tie (maybe in his 50s or early 60s) was preparing to take a picture of me from the corner of P Street and the Circle. He had some kind of identification hanging from a lanyard around his neck. I stood still for the picture. He didn't ask if it were OK to shoot me. After the shoot, he went into the front door of CVS and I never saw him come out. Could he have been one of the managers I've been told about who meet above this store? I sure hope so.

Later, a slender woman wearing a white top and black slacks smiled and remarked, "Good work my friend." I thanked her. A cheerful fellow in shorts approached to say that he was in favor of legalizing all drugs to get the criminal element out of the drug business. He understood the point of our protest and agreed with it. He had another gripe with CVS: "I just want them to stop opening stores. They're opening one in my bathroom." He also said that he had quit smoking a couple of years ago.

Then I heard a lot of honking of horns and the siren of a fire engine as it tried to get around the Circle. A female exited CVS and smiled. A man in shorts went by and said, "Good point." On entering the store another man gave a long stare at my sign.

A couple entered with one of them wearing a shirt with "Nebraska" printed on the front. The very tall male waved at me in support. At 9:00 a.m. I walked over to the 19th Street CVS just off Dupont Circle. A lady in a red blouse gave a big smile after reading my sign. The music of a violinist and an electric bass guitarist planted near the exit to the Metro (subway) escalator created a pleasant background to our 79th demonstration.

At 9:30 a.m. I approached the musicians to thank them for making my stay pleasant, and add to their collection jar. As it turned out I knew the violinist. He used to work in the music section of Barnes and Noble (the chain bookstore). He bought one of our Toxic-Tobacco Law T-shirts years ago. Back then he played with the National Symphony I think. Maybe he still does.

There is are a number of facts leading to the expectation that CVS will announce before Christmas 2011 that it will end its support of the toxic-tobacco industry by no longer advertising, promoting, distributing, and selling lethal, addictive cigarettes.

CVS sells poison: "Say cheese."
Day 80, Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:19 a.m. The temperature was a comfortable 69 degrees F. A little boy pointed to the sign and said to his family passing by, "The sign says CVS sells poison." A young male student exited CVS and smiled in my direction. A man with a white beard smiled as he glided by pulling his suitcase on wheels. A man going into CVS nodded. Two teens went by and one joked, "Hey buddy, can I give you a cigarette?"

Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door, waved to me, traveled five feet, and then retreated into the store. This was at 8:51 a.m. A man going by said out loud, "Sells poison." An older man toting a large black bag over his shoulder double nodded. Then I saw a passenger in a dark car caught in traffic trying to take my picture. I approached the curb to give him a better shot. When he was ready he said, "Say cheese." I thanked him.

A lady in red slacks smiled as she took in the sign. Most people seemed quiet and focused this day after the earthquake. At 9:15 a.m. I walked over to the CVS on 19th Street.

A worker walked in front of me while opening his pack of cigarettes. Then he jumped into his pickup truck. Three smokers were huddled near the doorway of the office building next to the CVS.

A man who introduced himself as a physical trainer approached me to find out what I was doing. He appreciated the "contradiction" in CVS, a licensed health care provider, advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes. He was frustrated that young people still took up smoking. I gave him the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, prior to our 80 demonstrations. He said that he was going to include what we were doing in some presentations he was preparing. While our conversation was going on, someone was video recording our activity.

A little girl with wild hair, walking with someone who could have been her brother, read the sign and then waved to me.

At 9:45 a.m. I left my post and entered the center of Dupont Circle. A voice called and a young man in a T-shirt and shorts asked me about the YouTube sign around my neck. I explained that we were trying to get CVS, a licensed health care provider, to stop selling cigarettes. He seemed OK with that. I told him to check out our music video on YouTube. Not an earth shaking day like yesterday. And that's OK for our 80th protest.

CVS sells poison: "In America, everything will kill you."
Day 81, Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It was 8:26 a.m. when I landed at the Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) CVS pharmacy on a sunny 66 degree F day. A man came out the front door and turned twice to read my sign. A woman going in did the same thing.

Then a man in a striped shirt and wearing sunglasses gave a positive nod. A woman smiled as she passed by. A young fellow wearing a yarmulke said, " They sell poison everywhere, unfortunately," as a sped by. Then a child looking at my sign asked her mother in traditional attire, "Mom, what does it say?"

Another woman went into the front entrance pulling a suitcase on wheels and turned twice to read the sign. Then a lean dark skinned man in glasses stopped to inquire about the progress we were making. He had asked about what we were trying to accomplish at a previous protest at the same site. I told him that we expected CVS to announce that it would cease selling cigarettes before Christmas 2011. He asked why we believed this. I told him about Dr. Troyen Brennan's statement that "This is an issue I am working on." A lady with loads of luggage on wheels pushed herself into our conversation near the curb and stated," In American, everything will kill you," and people should be able to choose what they want to ingest.

"That's true,"said a tall man with his shirttails out as he read my sign and passed in front of me. An female employee of CVS passed me and said," Hey, it's you again." A slight, short regular passerby in black smiled and we greeted each other. Then another regular who had quit smoking over three years ago stopped to inquire about our efforts. He ran off in the middle of our conversation when he saw his bus passing by.

A guy stopped to tell me that he really wants his girl friend to stop smoking. He knew a lot about the carnage left by cigarettes worldwide. He said, "Great job," and that he'd check out our music video on YouTube. A woman in a straw hat smiled as she passed on the sidewalk. Another woman came out of CVS and smiled. At 9:42 a.m. I went over to the CVS near the Metro subway station. The temperature was only 73 degrees F. No street music today. An older man in a sport coat smiled and nodded when he saw my sign.

"Somebody's got to do it," (i.e., sell cigarettes) said a female maintenance worker who was smoking as she collected refuse. A man getting ready to light up walked in front of me as close as possible without bumping into me.

Then a very enthusiastic man approached with two thumbs up. He said, "Good for you." He mentioned that we ban all kinds of drugs that hardly do any damage and yet we let the sale of cigarettes continue. He said that he recently reacted to Maxum for advertising cigarettes. He wanted to know about our YouTube entry. Finally, a lady in her 60s asked about our protest. She got it right away and said, "What do we do?" I told her to check out the music video and then send an email to the CEO of CVS Larry Merlo at ljmerlo@CVS.com

I left at 10:11 a.m.. I look forward to the day that CVS, a licensed health care provider, announces that it no longer will collaborate with the toxic-tobacco industry to advertise, promote, distribute and sell lethal, addictive cigarettes.

CVS sells poison: Starting to smoke at 59 years old
Day 82, Monday, September 12, 2011

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy under a beautiful blue cloudless sky with the temperature at 64 degrees F and the clock striking 7:47 a.m. Am I really doing this for the 82nd time?

A woman wearing a backpack turned her head twice to read my sign. A couple walking hand in hand commented to each other about the message on my sign. A young woman walking alone passed me and let out a robust laugh.

Then a man wearing a baseball cap and backpack approached me and said that he just began to smoke Marlboros about three weeks ago. He said he did it to relax himself. I asked how old he was and he answered, "59." He said that he was recently diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and liver cancer. His prostate gland had been removed as had part of his liver. He currently was receiving radiation for his liver cancer. He said that he was told that he had about one year to live. His doctor said that smoking one pack every three days was O.K.. He said that he had thought about smoking marijuana, but he gets drug tested at work. He said that he had not smoked before. I told him that I expected to see him a year from now. He seemed to leave in a good mood with a smile.

Two teens, a boy and a girl went by with one saying, "CVS sells poison." Then a couple who regularly go by smiled. Then as I was writing some notes I heard, "Excuse me, do you mean only Marlboros?" I said that all cigarettes were bad and turned my sign around so he could see the pack of Newports attached to the other side. "Don't smoke any of them," I warned. The young teen shook his head "Yes" and smiled as he went off to school. I thanked him for asking me the question. Lots of kids on their way to school took in the sign.

A female biker on her way to work asked if there were another place that she could buy milk since she didn't want to support CVS after reading my sign. I said that we weren't boycotting CVS but that I appreciated the fact that she wanted to support us. Since there wasn't another store close by, she bought her milk at CVS. She said that she'd check out our music video when she got to work.

At 9:03 a.m. I moved to the CVS on 19th Street NW, near the subway exit. I heard one of two males walking together say, "CVS sells poison." I saw a young woman in a bandana light up a cigarette a few feet from me. A man carrying his coffee smiled as he read my sign. Then finally a young man in a suit thrust a clenched fist of support and smiled. I headed home at 9:30 a.m. after walking back and forth nearly the entire time while at this station.

CVS sells poison: The 88 year old ex-smoker.
Day 83, Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I landed at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:17 a.m. under a sunny sky. The temperature was 68 degrees F. A man in his twenties with his shirt untucked exited the store and began to complain about the high cost of cigarettes. He quickly shifted to asking me questions about whether CVS has tried to get rid of me. He wondered why I have not been prosecuted for slander. When I explained that "CVS sells poison" was the truth and not slander he replied that a poison was different from a carcinogen. He went across the street into the circle and talked on his phone for awhile, and then crossed the circle again and entered CVS once more. He came out later but didn't say any more to me.

A man in dark glasses and a beige suit said, "Good morning," as he read my sign and passed in front of me. A woman following him closely smiled. One of the CVS employees whom I've talked to in the past greeted me with a friendly and hearty, "Hello," before entering the front entrance to CVS. I received a strong nod from a young man passing by and a smile from a lady. Then a guy approached and asked several times, "How much, how much?" after looking at my sign. I think that he thought I was advertising cigarettes on sale. Perhaps he couldn't read the words on the sign. Three police officers entered the road around the circle on their bicycles. I exchanged hellos with the first one.

A male passerby came up to me and asked what I was trying to do. He was curious about how I obtained the "logo" for my sign. He wondered whether they (CVS) gave it to me. I said, "No." Another male pedestrian asked for my permission to take a picture of the sign I was carrying. I said, "Sure," as I stopped walking to pose. Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door, looked around, responded to my hello, and retreated into the store. A lean woman entering the front entrance read the sign and raised her index finger firmly in support.

At 9:00 a.m. I went to the CVS on 19th Street NW not far from the elevators that bring workers up from the subway trains. An elderly man, 88 years old, stopped to tell me about when he quit cigarettes. He said that he belonged to GASP of Maryland and thanked me for what I was doing. A much younger man, who said that he was anti-tobacco, asked about why we were targeting CVS versus convenience stores and grocery stores. He seemed satisfied with the answer. Another man, who stopped to talk in the past, said that he was sorry he couldn't stop to talk today. Finally, a really big man looked at my sign and shouted, "All right," just before 9:30 a.m. when I started to walk home. As I went through the circle, three guys sitting on a bench near the chess boards yelled out, "Do you have any cigarettes in there?" referring the packs attached to my sign. I gave them the correct answer.

CVS sells poison: Back to a university setting.
Day 84, Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on the George Washington University campus at 8:16 a.m. on a sunny 50 F degree day. The store is on 21st Street NW just south of I Street, near Pennsylvania Avenue. The first woman I saw looked very puzzled when she saw my sign.

A man entering CVS nodded and said, "Hi." Then a young CVS employee popped out the front door at the top of the stairs, looked in my direction and then popped back in the store. Next, a man in walking shorts approached me and asked what I was doing. He asked for one of my flyers and said that he was a videographer who really didn't like smoking. He asked if I were the person whose name he was pointing to on the flyer. He also asked if he could leave a message at the phone number on the flyer. He indicated that he would contact me. At the time we were standing near the Department of Media and Public Affairs. Maybe he works in this department?

Two CVS employees came out and looked in my direction, followed by a fellow who crossed into the street while turning towards me and talking. He said, "That's poison all right. I'm trying to quit. Good sign." I wished him good luck. Then a man in a suit came towards me and remarked, "Good for you, my friend."

A gray haired lady in a ponytail crossed 21st Street and came over to me as she was about to climb the stairs to CVS. She asked what I was up to. When I told her she said, "It's a good thought" and took one of my flyers.

Lots of students passed and caught the message on my sign. From across the street many members of the campus workforce craned their necks to see what my sign said. A fellow in a baseball cap and wearing glasses stopped to tell me that he's been off cigarettes for 18 years. He stopped smoking when he became forty. He said that his two 50 year old sisters still smoke. His parents used to smoke. He said that his father was a hypocrite. His father once made him smoke a cigar when his father found out that he was sneaking cigarettes and smoking them. I believe that he had stopped by some months ago to talk to me. I thanked him for stopping and invited him back. He thanked me for doing what I was doing. I got a big smile from an Asian male and a "Hi," from a young female passing by. The wind always seems to stir up strongly at this location and today was no exception. In fact it got pretty tough at times so I had to really hang on to my sign.

At 9:46 a.m. I started my walk home with the temperature 55 degrees F.

CVS sells poison: "CVS sucks."
Day 85, Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today was our 85th protest day, a beautiful sunny 55 degree F day. I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy (Washington, DC) at 8:20 a.m. wearing my YouTube sign around my neck and carrying my "CVS sells poison" sign, plus a hand full of flyers with the original letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, in October of 2009 on one side and the press release entitled "CVS Pharmacy Called on to Make Historic Public Health Announcement" on the other.

Two young boys waited outside the front entrance with one of them smoking. They left when a third boy exited the front door carrying a newly purchased pack of cigarettes. Too bad. A blond woman smiled as she passed by. A smiley woman came out, looked at my sign, and said, "Oh no, I just bought a pack. I'm trying to quit." A man wearing a hood stood still near the front door with a German Shepard at his side. He left when a woman in a white top exited the store.

Two teenage girls and a guy unintentionally blocked my marching path. One of the girls asked, "Why CVS?" I explained what we were trying to accomplish and she got it right away and said, "I'm against smoking."

A young man went by and had a good laugh after looking at my sign. A man in a suit smiled and gave a firm thumbs up. A blond lady smiled and said, "Have a good day."

A woman, part of a couple, indicated she wanted a flyer. Another woman asked for a flyer. I sensed they might have been tourists. Another woman gestured for a flyer.

As I walked to the CVS near the 19th Street Metro exit, a man began a conversation related to his observation that more people were smoking now than in the recent past. He wished me good luck with my efforts as he went off to work. A woman came out of this CVS and yelled to me and everyone else within hearing distance, "CVS sucks." And just before I left this site at 10:00 a.m. I received another thumbs up from a male supporter.

CVS sells poison: Occupying Wall Street.
Day 86, October 11, 2011

The "Occupy Wall Street" protests have come to Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. The tents, booths and stage are situated in Freedom Plaza between 16th Street and 13th Street NW. And conveniently at 13th and Pennsylvania Avenue sits yet another CVS pharmacy just across from the Ronald Reagan Building.

Since many of the themes supported by the demonstrators relate to corporate misbehavior, I felt it was appropriate for the CVS sells poison project to join these activists.

I arrived near the White House around 8:07 a.m. for outdoor protest number 86. As I crossed Freedom Plaza on my way to CVS a young man stopped me to tell me about the time he was in Europe and he tried to buy cigarettes at a drug store. He was surprised to find that drug stores in Europe do not distribute and sell cigarettes. He no longer smokes and supports our goal. I thanked him for telling me his story. As I was about to exit the plaza a female voice rang out, "Are you going to CVS?" I said that I was, and she said, "Great." I guess the demonstrators felt I belonged to.

A runner leading a pack of four ran up 13th Street and shouted, "Bad CVS."

A lady going by smiled while a large man going into CVS looked at my sign and said, "GOD." Then a man with a backpack and filled plastic bags in both hands came to me to ask for one of the flyers I had in my right hand. He took it and crossed Pennsylvania Avenue. An older male CVS employee came out and we joked as he stood against the front window and smoked.

A lady standing next to another CVS female employee started yelling at me. I didn't get what she said so I asked her to please repeat herself. She then said that I shouldn't be protesting CVS since they were the only health care providers available to help demonstrators who might need assistance. Then she went into the store. The other employee stayed and asked what I was doing. She said the lady that yelled was a pharmacy tech and that she was a "little crazy". This employee was very nice and asked for a flyer.

A tall lady smiled and gave a firm affirmative nod. Another lady in a fashionable skirt smiled. A big guy passed quickly and angrily yelled, "Government sells poison too." Another guy asked for my flyer. A couple with backpacks came by and asked for a flyer also. Another couple went by with the female giving a strong affirmative nod.

At 9:45 a.m. I headed home, a 45-minute walk.

CVS sells poison: "POISON?"
Day 87, Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I walked 40 minutes from my home to the CVS pharmacy on 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenues, not far from the White House. It was cool, in the 50s (F). My trip took me through two occupied zones, one near K Street (lobbyist country) and one inside of Freedom Plaza near my target CVS. Neither camp was stirring much before 8:00 a.m.

Almost immediately on my arrival a woman in her 50s asked for one of my flyers. She then crossed 13th street and disappeared into the occupied encampment.

Some construction workers passed in front of me with one saying, "CVS sells poison, for real, for real?" A female on her way to work smiled and a guy in a suit carrying a backpack came out of CVS and slapped his cigarette pack defiantly against his palm. A couple walked by and the male said, "CVS sells poison; I suppose that's true." Then a passerby joked, "How much?" Perhaps he couldn't read and thought I was promoting cigarettes. This has happened before.

A street cleaner in his neat red and white uniform wanted to know what I was doing. He wanted to talk about the mental condition of our soldiers after multiple deployments in war zones. He had a lot of insight I thought.

The lady who asked for the flyer came back carrying a pair of combat boots. Boots with tags of the names of soldiers killed in Iraq or Afghanistan had been placed under a sprawling tree on the edge of Freedom Plaza.

A couple went by and the male said out loud, "CVS sells poison." A CVS employee came out to have a smoke break and we discussed the weather a little. We recognized each other from my last protest at that site. A man in a suit and carrying a backpack smiled. Then a tourist bus filled with kids stopped at the traffic light. I could see one of the riders setting up to take a picture through the window. I stayed still through a couple of shots. Others kids began to look out the window in my direction. A female started into the street and gave a firm thumbs up. A lady asked if she could take a picture. When she finished she thanked me and said, "I support you." A really robust guy wearing a too warm coat yelled, "POISON?" Then he realized what the sign was saying and said, "Oh yeah, cigarettes."

At 9:30 a.m. I headed home but was stopped by one of the occupiers in Freedom Plaza, an African-American woman, who was upset about the distribution of leadership roles among the various participants in the encampment.

It won't be long before Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, speaks at the 25th National Conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital (Boston, Oct. 27th). We expect he'll do the right thing and announce the end of advertising, promoting, distributing and selling of cigarettes at all CVS stores.

(Although we have not seen a transcript of Dr. Brennan's talk, to our knowledge no news source has reported any special announcement from him to date.)

CVS sells poison: "Bravo!"
Day 88, Tuesday, November 8, 2011.

It was cool, crisp and sunny (not where I was perched) when I arrived at the intersection of 15th Street and K Street, the heart of lobbyist country in our nation's capital. 15th Street is one of the borders of McPherson Square where the DC Occupiers are camped out. Police cars and motorcycles were dispersed around the square, ready to handle trouble.

Nearly all the men walking by were wearing suits and the women were wearing high heals.

On the corner stood a camera, tripod, TV monitor and lighting among wires and a mike with Channel 7 clipped to its throat scattered on the sidewalk. A reporter and cameraman sat in their parked vehicle. Two car lengths behind them was a van equipped with a transmitter.

A panhandler greeted and opened the door for nearly all that entered the CVS pharmacy on the corner. He seemed to know many of those who entered. When one of the parking spaces on K Street emptied he quickly found a traffic cone and placed it in the space to save it for the burrito truck that he expected at lunchtime.

A man in a suit and shaking his head to each side and back again as he approached me on the sidewalk said," Freedom of speech." I couldn't tell if he were disgusted with the fact that I could demonstrate because of my constitutional right, or he was making a statement that I had the right to do what I was doing.

Hundreds of people passed through what must be one of the busiest intersections in the morning in all of Washington, D.C. Lots of people turned their heads several times to take in my sign. I could detect couples discussing the sign. One fellow said, "What isn't toxic in this city, brother?" as he quickly passed in front of me. Another guy said, "It's not the only poison they sell." A police officer went by and we exchanged greetings.

Then I spotted a CVS employee outside smoking. He later came outside with another worker to remove empty boxes and restock the store. A guy in a suit went by and gave a hearty, "Bravo." Then a Hari Krishna observant offered me some literature. I thanked him but did not accept the pamphlet. I told him that I was familiar with his group after living in Florida. He was gracious and said, " Keep up what you're doin'".

A man nodded as he passed and two women smiled. A tall fellow inquired about what I was doing and said lots of places sell cigarettes. I explained that CVS was licensed to be a health care provider and that they were one of the biggest distributors of cigarettes in the country. A guy went by and said, "You tell'em brother." At 9:35 I began to cross K Street. When I reached the other side I asked the TV reporter who had just crossed in front of me if I could give him one of my flyers. He said, "Sure," and I also asked him to check out "CVS sells poison" on Google. He said that he would.

CVS sells poison: Waves of Thoughtful Citizens.
Day 89, Monday, November 14, 2011.

At 7:36 a.m. I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on the corner of 15th and K Streets (Lobbywood), one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in Washington, D.C. A beautiful blue sky capped an upper 40s fall day. Just across the street from the CVS in McPherson Square sat the Occupy DC Movement.

A man in a suit smiled twice as he passed by. A woman in pajamas, I think from the Occupy DC encampment across the street, smiled approvingly and went into CVS. A young man exhaling smoke from his cigarette appeared to pass really close to me on purpose. A woman approached and asked, "Is that a paper you're handing out?" I gave her the handout that contained the letter we sent in October of 2009 asking Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, to work to end the promotion, advertising, distributing and selling of cigarettes by CVS. The other side of the handout contained the press release outlining the seven reasons we believe that CVS will end its sale of cigarettes before Christmas 2011. I overheard one woman say incredulously to her companion, "She was still smoking after getting pneumonia."

Another passerby smiled.

A female appeared jarred after spotting the sign. "They've been selling 'em for years; so what's new," said another woman as she passed in front of me. A tall fellow with a backpack said, "I agree sir."

Waves of people swept down the 15th Street sidewalk as the traffic lights started each rush. Think, if only 100 people went by during the 1.5 to 2.0 hours of each protest, that would mean 8,900 went by during the 89 protests to date. If 1,000 people went by per protest, the total would be 89,000.

A blond young fellow nodded his agreement. A male and female separately asked for a brochure as they passed by. Next, I went across the street to the Occupy DC encampment where I was greeted by curious, questioning and supportive protesters. Then I went to the CVS on Dupont Circle until 10:00 a.m. to make sure that its management knew that I had not given up. The next protest will be number 90.

CVS sells poison: Spidermen everywhere.
Day 90, Monday, November 28, 2011.

I arrived at 8:00 a.m. on the corner of 15th and K Streets, the center of Lobbyville, D.C. Lots of people in dark suits were briskly walking to work after exiting the subway. I decided to count the number of people in the waves that passed in front of me. Most waves contained from 20 to 40 persons each. The temperature was comfortable in the 50s.

"Yep. They're not the only ones," said a man responding to my "CVS sells poison" sign.

"Are you givin' away cigarettes? said a very tall man as he exited the CVS pharmacy. A guy in a sportcoat passed while saying, "That's great." One in a suit smiled in response to my sign. The panhandler who used to open the CVS door for each entrant was at his post, but he didn't open the door today. Another panhandler in a wheel chair perched herself near the curb on 15th Street, but she left after only a few minutes.

A guy in glasses and matching beige knit cap and sweater gave a double thumbs-up of support, the second thumbs-up, I think, because he thought I hadn't seen the first one. A lady in a long black dress smiled. While all this was going on window washers were repelling down the side of the building that housed the CVS. They had cordoned off the sidewalk so pedestrians wouldn't walk below them, although some oblivious walkers ignored the caution tape and walked right under the spidermen.

At 9:15 a.m. I went over to the Occupy DC encampment across 15th Street where I was greeted with "Are you giving them away?" Again, some of the observers of my sign can't read and therefore think that I'm selling or promoting cigarettes for CVS.

One of the inhabitants asked what I was doing. He said that 95% of the people there smoked. I explained to him and others later that we objected to CVS being licensed to be a health care provider, taking government funding for Medicaid and Medicare, while at the same time advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes. They got the conflict. While we were standing and talking a young female college student was taking pictures as part of her course work. One of the occupants was smoking and he said that he'd permit a picture with me and my sign if he could be paid.

Working the streets is hard work. Later, I thought I should have engaged the student photographer more, although she did seem to be listening in on the conversation I was having. The occupants seemed to appreciate the fact that I also had Newports attached to my sign, one of the most favored brands in the African-American community. Around 9:30 a.m. I headed home walking past some homeless men on city benches. Of course, they asked, "Do you have any cigarettes in there?" when they spotted the packs attached to my sign. Protest demonstration 90 was complete.

CVS sells poison: The bellowing lady.
Day 91, Monday, December 5, 2011.

At 7:40 a.m. I landed on the corner of 15th and K Streets (Lobbywood), just across the street from the Occupy DC movement in McPherson Square. As soon as I arrived a female passerby asked for one of my two-sided handouts, one side with the letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS, urging him to work on getting CVS to stop selling cigarettes and the other side with the press release announcing that we thought that CVS would announce the end of cigarette sales by Christmas 2011. Then a young male went by shaking his head "No".

A man in a baseball cap who was passing by came over and asked for one of my handouts.

Then a large woman in a flowing outer garment bellowed out, "I smoked that poison for 40 years but don't anymore." To paraphrase, she also said something to the effect that they have been selling that stuff for 40 million years, so what was I saying that was new? She continued to talk down the rest of the block until she was halted by the traffic light at the intersection.

A tall woman gave a big smile as she read my sign. Another woman stared at my sign for some time as she entered the building entrance behind CVS on 15th Street.

At 9:15 a.m. I went across the street to join the Occupy DC activists. Many of them had negative things to say about the toxic-tobacco companies. Three or four individuals who wanted to know about the YouTube sign around my neck and what I was trying to accomplish approached me. None of them seemed to know that Boston and San Francisco had banned the sale of cigarettes in drug stores.

One of the encampment leaders tried to encourage me to camp out with them. I said that I would try to stop by more often to offer my support. I took a couple of pictures of the "Occupy DC" sign and my "CVS sells poison" sign together, the latter held by a young girl who was smoking. On my way home I ran into an old acquaintance who plays violin professionally and on street corners with a bass guitarist. He is very supportive of our anti-toxic-tobacco activities.

CVS sells poison: "In Jesus' name"
Day 92, Monday, December 12, 2011.

I arrived at 8:02 a.m. on the corner of 15th and K Streets, across from the Occupy DC encampment. It was cold, so I was going to have to remove one of my gloves every time to take notes.

A woman raised her hand palms up in support. The usual pedestrian wave of 20 to 40 people getting off the subway passed me as I marched back and forth on the sidewalk next to a CVS pharmacy. During one of the waves an exercise runner snaked through its ranks. Some of the people going to work in the building behind the CVS store stopped and stared at my sign as they entered the doorway on 15th Street.

"In Jesus' name," yelled a large woman in response to my sign as she passed with a companion. Her response could have been exclamatory, or was she implying that the "CVS sells poison project" had the spiritual support of Jesus?

An Air Force officer getting ready to cross the intersection called out, "Good job." Then four Spanish-speaking guys entered CVS with one shouting out some positive expression about CVS.

A guy passed by and invited me to come over to the Occupy DC encampment. I said that I would and had in the past.

A very little adult passed on her way into CVS. When she came out she made sure that she was quite a distance from me before she ignited her cigarette. A couple came around the corner and the female member said, "You're right." A blond dressed for work ran down the sidewalk toward me and called out, "Good for you."

Shortly after 9:00 a.m. I crossed 15th Street and entered the Occupy DC grounds. I brought a newspaper clipping with me that described the encampment, particularly how food was being distributed. None of the principals in the article were available so I left it with a fellow I had talked to last week. Some other guys engaged me and asked what I was doing. I left for the cold walk home. CVS should be getting ready to do the right thing and announce the end of cigarette sales in its stores by Christmas 2011.

CVS sells poison: "Get a job!"
Day 93, Thursday, January 5, 2012.

Today was our first protest of 2012, the 93rd protest in all. I arrived at 8:36 a.m. at the CVS pharmacy on the corner of 15th and K streets right across the street from the Occupy DC encampment. The weather was tolerable with the sun shining on me.

Right off the bat I got a thumbs-up from a young man entering CVS's front door. Then a female nodded in support. A woman came over to me to ask about the Newport cigarette pack on my sign. I explained that we were trying to get CVS, a licensed health care provider, to stop selling cigarettes. She said, "It makes sense to me."

A gray haired and bearded man approached me and remarked, "I like this." He pointed out that he felt it was strange for a company that sold medicines to be selling a product that "when used an intended" was so destructive (He sounded like he had memorized some of the things activists say.) He said that he lived in Virginia, the state that exports the most poison (home of Marlboro). I told him that Boston and San Francisco had outlawed the sale of cigarettes in drug stores. He seemed surprised but pleased to hear that.

A young woman with spiked blond hair approached giving a thumbs-up and a smile. Two tall guys walked by with one of them saying as they started to enter CVS, "You're right; you're right man." One of the guys was smoking and the other, I think, had a pack of cigarettes in his back pocket.

Another blond female went by with a big smile. A tall couple seemingly discussing my sign passed in front of me and then I could see that they both were holding cigarettes by their sides. Two females went by with one smiling in my direction. Another female smiled.

A tall sad looking man in a white dress shirt passed me and went into CVS. Then he went past me again after exiting and when he got a long distance from me with his back to me he lit up a cigarette. I could see the smoke drifting over his left shoulder. Just before I left my station at 9:39 to check out the Occupiers across the streets, two women went by with one of them saying to me, "Get a job." Funny — sometimes this seems like work to me.

I walked into the encampment with my sign and immediately got requests for cigarettes, which of course I didn't have. While walking through the encampment I saw a lady looking around. I asked her if she'd like to take a picture of me and she asked what I was doing. I explained the nature of our project and she said that she understood. She said that her father had owned a tobacco farm, but sold off the rights to grow tobacco after her mother died of lung cancer.

She asked how I got interested in what I was doing. I told her about our music video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjpqXQc4tKg) and she searched for it on YouTube with her I-phone using the key words "CVS sells poison". She seemed to appreciate the music very much and complimented my granddaughter's voice and melody. I gave her one of our handouts and urged her to send the video address to her friends and family. I thanked her for her interest. Protest day 93 went very well.

CVS sells poison: "Amen" and a new CVS.
Day 94, Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

It was 32 degrees F when I crossed Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) at 8:03 a.m. on my way to protesting for the first time at a CVS store right next to the Farragut North subway station escalators. Although this CVS store is one of the few that does not contain a pharmacy, I've been wanting to protest here for some time since the volume of citizens coming off the escalators during rush hour is tremendous. I wasn't disappointed.

"I agree," said a woman coming off the escalator. Another chimed in "Amen, I agree with you." "Good job," commented another. A man hurrying by flashed a thumbs-up. Upon exiting the fitness club next to CVS a man approaching his bicycle said, "I couldn't agree with you more."

"Good, good, good," a man in a suit said in a whisper. "McDonalds does it too," interjected a young man right up in my face. Another young man quipped, " I buy that poison." Another said, "They don't sell rolling paper." A big guy approached me and asked, "Rite-aid does too; why CVS?"

"Good luck with your campaign," said a man as he approached me. "What poison?" asked another man who obviously missed seeing the cigarette packs attached to my sign.

Some people asked for our handout, including the Executive Director of the Mautner Project, The National Lesbian Health Organization.

My hands were so cold that I didn't take notes, but I tried to remember the salient points of the protest. Since it was my first time at this site I was unsure where the boundaries were for legal protesting. So I got concerned when a DC police car pulled up on L Street near Connecticut Avenue right behind a pillar where I was standing. But nothing happened. When I looked out at the street a few minutes later the car was gone.

One of the downtown guides who help direct people to their destination as they come off the subway escalators came over to me. He asked if I were staying through rush hour. I told him I was and asked how long rush hour lasted. He also told me that he periodically goes over to the escalators where he can warm up his hands. I thanked him for the help. The saddest part of the day was watching people exit CVS and light up.

CVS sells poison: Donut man Paul.
Day 95, Friday, January 20, 2012.

It was a breezy 33 degrees F when I crossed Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) at 8:04 a.m. on my way to protesting for the second time at the CVS store right next to the Farragut North subway station escalators. I joined forces near Paul who was selling donuts by the dozen for $6 per box for a charitable organization. He seemed welcoming.

A couple went by and couldn't stop talking about my sign. They got particularly excited when I flipped the sign to the side with the Newport pack attached to it. As they approached the intersection they said loudly for all to hear, "CVS sells poison."

A lady with a cane came off the escalator and flashed a big smile in my direction. A tall male smiled and nodded simultaneously. Then a woman walked by and said, "You are right."

"Thank you," said a tall woman wearing small glasses. I flipped the sign back and forth so both the Marlboro and Newport pack got seen. Another person smiled and nodded. Then a tall young girl while taking a picture of our protest banged into a woman coming off the escalator, fortunately not knocking her to the ground.

The security guard from the building over the subway station approached me to tell me that I must move. She indicated that I needed to go all the way to the curb, which I protested. Now, there was protest within the protest. I told her that I had done this many times and she said she hadn't seen me, which she hadn't. Finally, I decided to go just outside the perimeter of the building right next to the donut man who seemed to welcome the company. He had a running commentary about corporate transgressions. He later told me that his father had recently quit smoking after a heart attack.

When I saw the downtown guide, I asked him where I could legally set up shop. He said that he was told that one needed to be at least 25 feet from the escalators (?).

A gigantic city police officer stopped to talk to us about smoking, telling us that both his parents died from smoking, his mother from lung cancer. He said he didn't know how people could afford to smoke. We talked about the cost of a carton and he decided to go into the CVS and see what a carton of cigarettes cost. When he came out he said the cost was $130 per carton. We didn't confirm the amount but were astonished at his report.

A man went by shaking his head back and forth, obviously disagreeing with our activity.

A young woman stopped to take a picture and then she came over to ask what we were trying to accomplish. She said that she got it. I encouraged her to Google or YouTube "CVS sells poison" so she could see our music video, now with over 10,000 views.

At about 9:30 a.m. I headed home having completed 95 protest days, this time with frozen fingers. Paul, the donut man, wished me good luck with the project.

Day 96, CVS sells poison: Impressing the masses.
Wednesday January 25, 2012.

At 8:03 a.m. it was 36 degrees F as I crossed Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) on my way to perhaps the busiest subway station in Washington (around the corner from a CVS pharmacy). The station is located on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and K Street in the heart of lobbyist country.

I stood just outside the exiting area at the top of the escalators, which unfortunately was in the shade. I perched myself in front of a trash barrel and street post so that I couldn't be trampled from the rear.

Throngs of people came off the escalators in an almost unending wave. Many just proceeded to the nearest intersection without lifting their eyes from the pavement. Others took in the CVS sells poison sign, which I rotated back and forth to expose the Marlboro and Newport packs, and keep my hands warm. A few people smiled as they walked by. No negative responses were detected.

As I was getting ready to change locations, the guide who directs exiting subway riders said that I was doing a good job. I thanked him for the kind words. It was about 9:30 a.m.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 9:33 a.m.; the temperature was now 37 degrees F. By this time the number of pedestrians was low, but I wanted the store manager to know that the CVS sells poison project was still actively operating.

“Yes, that’s right,” said a man responding to the “CVS sells poison” on my sign as he exited the CVS store. I talked briefly to a veteran CVS worker who came out for a smoke break. She sent her regards to my wife.

When I left at 10:00 a.m. it was 39 degrees F and the sun was shining. Will the YouTube sign I’ve been wearing generate some more views of our musical video? As I write this, over 10,400 views have occurred.

Day 97, CVS sells poison: "My doctor told me to smoke."
Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

Highflying clouds fronted a blue background at 8:15 a.m. when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle (Washington, DC). The temperature was a comfortable 51 degrees F. I picked this store because today the subway station at 19th Street and the Circle was closed for eight months of repairs. That meant that the Q Street station would have many more riders exiting it than usual, and many of them would be passing my location on the Circle. I was not disappointed; I had a constant stream of people pass me on their way to work, and they were very reactive.

Immediately a blond lady about to enter the CVS remarked, "I agree with you." Then a man in a suit and wearing glasses nodded positively.

Two youngsters asked, "Why?" as they were about to enter the store. I explained that the store was licensed to be a health care provider and that selling cigarettes was contradictory to its mission. A man in suit passed by and said, "I love it."

"Why yes they do," responded a smiling man in a sweater. At 8:33 a.m. I took a quick walk to the station exit that was closed for repair because I saw a TV transmission tower near the station. But when I arrived, I spotted an unmanned camera and no media activity.

I quickly returned to the CVS on the Circle. Then I was asked by a young lady, "What's your YouTube channel?" She said she'd check it out. A bald male coming out of CVS smiled.

A young man wearing a military style peaked hat smiled. Another male in a suit nodded his approval. Eyes rose in the next guy who passed by. A mixed couple went by holding hands and the male partner smiled towards me.

Then a male came close and said, "I smoke cigarettes, but what you're doing makes sense."

Then one of the senior CVS workers came out to smoke. As we talked she kept postponing lighting up. In fact she only got in a few drags before she threw her cigarette to the ground. She said that none of her kids smoked nor did her husband. She said that she started to smoke 43 years ago when her daughter was born. From her description it sounded like she was depressed (or stressed) and that her doctor thought smoking might help. She said this occurred before everyone knew that smoking was bad for your health.

A male went by and flashed a thumbs-up. A female smiled as she went by. A lady in a long red coat flashed a big smile. As she exited the store, another lady remarked, "I like your sign." A lady halted as she entered the store and gave three nods. When she came out she said, "Thank you."

"Seriously, they sell rat poison too," said a man in red sweats as he entered the CVS. I remained silent.

A lady in a long black coat and leather shoulder bag said, "Thank you," and gave a thumbs-up sign. A very large woman smiled and said, "That's true," responding to my sign.

Ali, the store manager, came out to give directions to a young woman. I told him about the station closing and that I thought that many more people than usual were coming to his store. He didn't seem to know which station had been closed.

At 10:00 a.m. I left with the temperature still comfortable, 55 degrees F. CVS executives were having a meeting above the store today. I wonder if any of them got our message today. You can check out the CVS sells poison project at www.toxic-tobaccolaw.org

Day 98, CVS sells poison: "DAMN RIGHT THEY DO."
Friday, February 10, 2012.

At 8:02 a.m. it was 33 degree F and sunny for our 98th outdoor protest as I entered Dupont Circle (Washington, DC). A woman passing by in a brown coat immediately smiled upon reading my sign.

Another woman in a blue coat stopped and stared as she exited the CVS pharmacy. Next came a thumbs-up from a tall man who gestured to me as he prepared to take a picture with his fancy camera equipment. I stood still.

A man responded to the sign saying, " That's not even the worst of it." A lady passerby smiled.

"DAMN RIGHT THEY DO. DAMN RIGHT THEY DO. And they sell good stuff too," said a male passerby. Then a woman smiled and raised her eyebrows simultaneously as she went by. A man wearing a dress hat and topcoat smiled as he passed.

Then the most senior CVS employee came out to have a cigarette. She got in one drag, put out her cigarette and placed it on a window ledge. She then retreated into the store to gather her belongings before departing with her son. She retrieved the cigarette from the ledge before I helped her into his vehicle.

A mixed couple went by and the male partner said, "CVS sells poison." Then a brawny fellow went by proudly saying, "They won't sell it to me. I don't smoke."

A large group of young people, perhaps 20-30 in number, dressed in suits or dresses passed me from the rear. None were smoking, but they couldn't miss my message.

Then a lady smiled. Lots of people were smoking today including two young professional looking women who hovered over the garbage barrel. A lady smiled. People tossed their lit cigarettes to the pavement.

A man said, "Don't they all?"

At 9:30 a.m. I said good-by to the T-shirt vendor and the bank guard. It was still sunny and the temperature was now 37 degrees F. What can we do on protest day #100 that is significant?

Day 99, CVS sells poison: The Fellini cast.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012.

Number 99, hard to believe. I crossed Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) at 7:52 a.m. with the temperature at 34 degrees F. I arrived at the corner of K Street (the lobbyist capital of the world) and Connecticut Avenue a few minutes later, passing up the chance to set up at L Street and Connecticut Avenue. There I would have been serenaded for my entire stint by a pretty good trumpet player. It was very tempting.

Anyway, when I arrived at the corner it was already pretty crowded. Three guys who said they were representing the DC Fire Department were soliciting for the Burn Foundation. (I didn't see anyone contribute funds.) To my right was a large stand with cut flowers. To my immediate left was a short fellow playing a small stringed instrument, perhaps a cuatro. A lady selling the newspaper covering the homeless, Street Sense, was singing her plea in front of me. Behind me in the island that's planted between the service road and K Street sat a silent panhandler with a knit cap covering his ears.

The cold, windy weather and rush of the crowds spilling off the crowded escalators made conversing impractical. A woman on her phone smiled. "Yes they do," said a male passerby as he quickly stepped out of sight. "What poison?" asked a woman as she approached me getting ready to cross the service road. Then, before I could answer, she excitedly remarked, "Oh, cigarettes!"

The people coming off the escalators did not look in my direction because of the angle they needed to go to cross the service road to the triangular island before they crossed K Street. So, I moved myself to the island near the panhandler who did not move one inch when I arrived. I stood behind a garbage pail so I wouldn't get trampled and since the island was the target of most of the people in the area, they would see the "CVS sells poison" sign when they crossed to the island. I got hundreds and hundreds of looks.

I couldn't wait until 9:30 a.m. to leave; my hands were so cold. Since I couldn't march back and forth, I was really stiff when I tried to leave and walk home. On my way home, I heard a voice say, "Marlboro man." I explained what I had been doing and the young man said that he had never thought of the inconsistency of a pharmacy selling an extremely harmful product. He seemed to get it. He happened to be a personal trainer at a health club I had just passed by and he was on his way to an anatomy class. After asking how many hits we had, he said that he'd check out our music video. He seemed impressed that we had over 11,000 views. Protest day #100 is coming next.

Day 100, CVS sells poison: The Cigarette-Free CVS Pharmacy.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

While crossing Calvert Street at 7:51 a.m. on a warm sunny day I heard, "I like your sign," spoken by a woman in tights. I planned on protesting near the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street NW, Washington DC, the construction site for a new CVS pharmacy. CVS is closing a smaller store across Connecticut Ave. that does not contain a pharmacy.

A man in a suit smiled as he passed by. I decided to walk back and forth along Calvert St where I could be seen by the large number of people who cross the Duke Ellington Bridge on their way to public transportation along Connecticut Ave. Throughout the morning I saw lots of runners, mostly female, getting their morning exercise. Two burly guys along with another fellow worker carrying ice tea in a bottle smiled as they passed and made some remark about the cigarette packs on my sign.

Two men perched on the end of a garbage truck stopped at the traffic light yelled out, "YouTube." (My YouTube sign was hanging from my neck.) When I approached them while they were still stuck at the intersection, I could see that they were trying to figure out what my sign meant. They smiled when they got the message. And I think they got it.

An elderly man stopped to take a closer look at the sign and then gave a positive wave. A young man walking with a large group spoke out, "Sure does."

A man walking his bicycle and daughter appeared puzzled by the message on my sign. A young woman wearing sunglasses and carrying two shoulder bags smiled approvingly.

Lots of children were being escorted to schools across Connecticut Avenue by their parents. It was a great opportunity for the parents to say something about smoking as the children asked about my sign and CVS.

A young woman asked what I was doing and when I explained she said, "So you don't like Rite Aid or Walgreens either?" I assured her that I didn't.

Then a man firmly said, "CVS isn't the only one that sells poison," something I have heard many times. Do some who comment really think I don't know about the other drug chains, or do they want to make sure I'm being fair and not just targeting poor CVS?

A woman in black and talking on her cell phone noted my sign as she passed by and gave me a firm thumbs-up. When I saw one of the construction workers come out of the CVS construction site I asked him when CVS planned to open. He indicated that he had no idea. Then he went back inside.

Later, I saw him fooling around with his cell phone. When I got closer to him I thought he might be getting ready to take a photograph so I stood still and said, "Shoot." He laughed, "I already gotcha." That must have broken the ice because the next time he came outside to carry some sheetrock to his truck, he told me in a very friendly way that this CVS would be opening at the end of April 2012. Just what I wanted to know so that we can plan our next move.

A male pedestrian nodded approvingly as he passed by.

At 9:30 a.m. I left a protest site for the 100th time. But for the first time it was a CVS pharmacy that did not sell cigarettes. On my way home I thought about protesting at the Rite Aid that was along the way. When I arrived at the Rite Aid the pedestrian traffic was very light, so I proceeded home.

Day 101, CVS sells poison: After the storm.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

I arrived at the one hundred and first protest at 7:55 a.m. (these things take time), just after a downpour in Dupont Circle (Washington, DC). The temperature was great, 61 degrees F. Dr. Dan Hunt, dapper in a suit, joined today's protest and helped make the time go by quickly and the operation look cool. We each had signs and handouts and covered a different side of the CVS building split by the front entrance.

Three high school girls went down P Street saying we should not sell the stuff after seeing the cigarette packs on our signs.

A woman with a bandana smiled as she read the sign and passed by. A man nodded his approval. Then I saw a young man talking on his cell phone while looking in my direction. A short time later I saw him through the store window stationed near the self-checkout counters ready to help customers.

When a couple entered the store, the female partner smiled at me. A man took a long look at my sign while he was entering the front door of CVS.

The adult child of a friend of mine came out and stopped to acknowledge my protest. I told her to send my regards to her parents. She said that if I see them to make sure that I tell them she was wearing a bicycle helmet. I assured her that I would.

Next, a lady pulling her suitcase on wheels stopped to set up her camera. I remained still and she thanked me for posing. I thanked her for being interested. A young woman with a large ponytail gave a big smile as she entered the store. An elderly lady made a remark that I didn't get. Maybe she said that she used to smoke. After she passed by me she turned around appearing to stick out her tongue. Maybe she thought I was promoting cigarettes.

A man in a suit came out of CVS and nodded positively. A lady in black slacks also came out of CVS and smiled as she went by my sign and me. Then a busload of people stopped in Dupont Circle and I got a big smile from a young woman looking out the window.

A guy went by and said, "It's legal. What are you goin' to do about it? I remained silent. A man in a straw hat stopped as he was entering the front door and smiled.

Just before I left at 9:30 a.m., I asked the guard stationed in front of the Bank of America ATMs if I could take his picture. He said that he didn't want me to while he was working. He then told me this story. A woman came up to him wondering why we had chosen CVS for our demonstrations. The guard (well versed by this time) told her that CVS was a health care company and that it didn't make sense for them to sell cigarettes. He seemed proud of the fact that the inquisitor quickly understood his explanation.

Day 102, CVS sells poison: NEW CVS Cigarette-Free!
Thursday, March 22, 2012.

After seeing a full-page CVS ad in Wednesday's Washington Post headlined with "To better manage chronic diseases, we needed a new kind of pharmacy," I decided to protest this afternoon with a new sign. I added the words NEW CVS Cigarette-Free! above CVS's headline. I arrived at Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) at 12:30 p.m.

I immediately received a smile from a lady in blue scrubs who went around the corner quickly. Within 5 minutes of my arrival the store manager, Ali, came out the front door and asked, "What is that?" referring to my new sign. I explained that CVS had placed this ad indicating that they were going to be a new company so I decided to make it a cigarette-free company to coincide with its advertised effort to help people manage chronic diseases like cancer, emphysema and heart disease. Ali left and came back with lunch a few minutes later.

A gray-haired lady took a long read of my sign. A woman with glasses and a backpack said, "Sounds good to me." Another woman, asked, "Don't they sell them anymore?" as she entered the front door. Another lady smiled. Two others stopped dead in their tracks to read the sign. Ali, the manager, came outside again this time to tell a panhandler that he had to move on. The panhandler left.

As she exited CVS a lady with her hair pulled back said, "Good sign sir." Immediately, a man following her gave a thumbs-up. Ali the manager came out again. This is the most times I've seen him in any of the protests I've done at his store. Six women went by in a group and one appeared to be explaining my sign to them.

A woman urged me to keep up the "not smoking thing". A lady with a yellow top smiled as she exited CVS. And then I heard a lady tell her children as she walked down the street, " I could have sworn I saw them [cigarettes]." I yelled to her that she did.

I left at 1:42 p.m. after giving transportation directions to some farmers from Minnesota visiting DC with their families.

Day 103, CVS sells poison: NEW CVS Cigarette-Free! Again.
Monday, March 26, 2012.

I decided to use the "NEW CVS Cigarette-Free" sign again at the Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) CVS. I arrived at 7:21 a.m. The temperature was a comfortable 54 degrees F. The most senior female employee of CVS came outside right away to have a smoke and we chatted. She said that she doesn't get a discount on cigarettes and pays $7.06 per pack. She called a cab to go home; I opened the door for her when it arrived.

A bald man in a suit said, "Hello," as he passed by. Another man in a baseball cap gave a triple head nod of support. A large female smiled as she entered the store and said, "Good morning," on her way out.

A woman going by pulling her suitcase on wheels enthusiastically said, "Yeah," when she saw my sign. Ali, the CVS manager, came out, said "Hello," and went to the corner of P Street and Dupont Circle to fool around with his phone. A gray haired man smiled and raised his eyebrows in response to my sign.

Next, a woman came out of CVS and offered me a dollar bill, which I graciously declined. Then she said in non-American English that she had not read my sign before making the offer. She appeared embarrassed. I told her that it was OK. Another woman passed with her suitcase on wheels and smiled. A very tall man wearing earbuds nodded. A female going in also nodded. A lady who smiled in support as she went in said, "Good for you," as she exited. A man coming out of the front door asked, "How you doin?'"

A family comprised of three males, two women (one holding a child) and a gray haired lady (probably the grandmother) stood outside the front door of CVS while a couple from the group went inside. One woman from the group dressed in black stared at the sign and gave a strong thumbs-up and smiled. Then a male walking with a female quipped, "Cigarette-free, where am I going to get my smokes?" A young teenage girl walking with her mom and younger sister tried to get her mother's attention so she'd look at my sign. She said, "See, look."

Finally a man came up to me for an explanation as to what I was doing. I explained that CVS had said that they were going to be a "new kind of pharmacy" that helps its patients with chronic diseases. I told him that CVS had to stop selling cigarettes if it were sincere about this health care goal. He was surprised that CVS sold cigarettes. I told him that pharmacies sold cigarettes in many cities with some exceptions such as Boston. He said that he was from Boston where cigarette sales are banned. He thought that the ban occurred everywhere. At 9:33 a.m. with the temperature at 56 degrees F and the pedestrian traffic very light, I started my trip home.

Day 104, CVS sells poison: "What's up boss?"
Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

At 7:45 a.m. I arrived at the NEW CVS pharmacy that is under construction on the busy corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street in Washington, DC. Two women immediately responded, one nodding and the other smiling. Then a guy bundled up as if it were winter and carrying a backpack said knowingly and disgustedly, "They sell cigarettes and medicine too."

A man wearing glasses and toting a shoulder bag nodded as he passed. A female waiting on her bicycle at the traffic light on the corner smiled. Three workers came out of the CVS under construction to have a smoke. Another female smiled as she passed by. An elderly lady said, "Given away free?" Then the construction worker who told me during my last visit to this site when CVS was going to open came by and said in a friendly voice, "What's up boss?"

A female nodded. Then a man with a shoulder bag exited from a door right next to the CVS under construction. He asked, "What's this about?" Then a man wearing glasses said, "How about 'CVS-free'; I'd be happier with that?" Another female smiled.

A white haired lady asked me what I was doing. After listening to my explanation she said, "Good, good." A very tall female passed in front of me and smiled. Then a Hispanic woman stopped to tell me her very anti-smoking thoughts. She was wearing a top that said "Texas." She said they should outlaw smoking to protect non-smokers. She wanted to know what she could do to help our efforts. She asked for a brochure, which I gave her. I told her to check out our music video and send emails to the Chief Medical Officer and CEO of CVS urging them to lead CVS in ending its sale of cigarettes.

During the course of my stay I saw a very tall, broad shouldered man in gray suit come out of CVS several times. He was serious and appeared to be supervising some of the activity inside the store. I saw him consult with several different workers or supervisors on the job site. I could see inside the store bold signage like "Pharmacy" and "Food" high up on the walls. On one occasion he crossed Connecticut Avenue with two female workers and went into the CVS across the street, one the company will probably close when this one opens. On another occasion he and the two women passed very close to me. I asked him where his sign was. He did not smile.

Two of the workers came outside to smoke again. A man from Springfield, MA stopped to ask me whether this CVS was going to have a pharmacy inside. He also told me that Springfield, MA had just passed an ordinance banning drug stores from selling cigarettes. He wished me good luck with my efforts. Then a man using a walker, whom I had seen earlier asked, "Any luck?" I said if you mean are a lot of people interested in what we are trying to accomplish. "Yes, things are going well". A female who got what we were doing right away said just before I left at 9:35 a.m., "Good for you."

I suspect that this CVS will open soon. On April 6, 2012 I saw an extra large trailer truck delivering merchandise to fill its shelves. We will be there opening day!!

Day 105, CVS sells poison: "Is it true?"
Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Does CVS not care about how it looks to the public?

I arrived at the NEW CVS pharmacy that is under construction on the busy corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street in Washington, DC at 8:02 a.m., just in time to see the very tall, broad shouldered "suit" (without his suit jacket on) exit the front door and get into his car. He drove past me but I don't know whether he noticed me. I hope so. That is the point of my being there.

I got two smiles right away from a male and female walking by separately. Then a man nodded. A garbage truck stopped at the intersection and out of the front window came questions from the crew about what I was doing. They got it. Then a man walking by asked, "Cigarettes for free?"

Three other females smiled among the crowd of passersby stoically on their way to work. Then a man at the corner stared at my sign as he waited for the light to change. Another female smiled.

Two female workers who were stocking the CVS came out to take a smoke break near the wall facing Calvert Street. They quickly retreated when they finished smoking. Then a nicely dressed lady smiled and said, "Good morning." Two other ladies in succession asked about whether it were true that CVS was not going to sell cigarettes from this store. I told them that we were urging CVS not to sell cigarettes.

Another garbage truck stopped at the intersection and its crew also asked about what I was doing. They seemed to get the conflict between being a government licensed health care company and continuing to sell cigarettes. A man walked by quickly and said, "Good," after looking at my sign. Today I carried the original "CVS sells poison" sign and the new "NEW CVS cigarette-free!" sign back to back.

It was surprisingly cold this morning and I wasn't prepared for its paralyzing effect on my fingers and writing. This CVS should have its grand opening very soon. It would be great if it opened as a cigarette-free unit. What are the chances?

Day 106, CVS sells poison: "When they gonna open?"
Tuesday, April 17, 2012.

Wow! I decided to protest during the late afternoon in order to check out the crowds of people returning home after work and the tourists going out to dinner. So, I went to the CVS pharmacy on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street, the one I have been covering lately so that I'd be there on the day that it opens. I think I found out when it will open.

I arrived around 4:58 p.m. after spending time in my office revising a letter to Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS, urging him to lead CVS into ending its sale of cigarettes. A man stared at my sign from a distance while he smoked. A waiter from the restaurant next door approached me to ask when this CVS was going to open.

Within minutes of my arrival, out the front door came the very tall "suit" that I'm guessing is the manager of the store or a district manager responsible for the store. He came out right near where I was standing with two female employees. He made sure we didn't make eye contact. Too bad, I wanted to ask him when the store was going to have its grand opening. The suit was carrying an athletic bag over his shoulder and he started to walk north with the two females along Connecticut Avenue. He's seen me the last two times that I have protested at this pharmacy.

A man asked if cigarettes were free now. Then another person asked when the store was going to open. I was asked that question a couple of times. Then a guy went to the front door. He was wearing a tie. He did not have a key so he knocked on the window. A young woman came to the front door and let him in. He later came out with two women, one who said to me, "What poison?" The three of them conversed about parking and then I asked the female who asked me the question, "When are you going to open?" She said, "Sunday." I guess I know what I'll be doing on Sunday and anyone else who wants to join me. Lots of parents went by with children on vacation. I hope that they talked about cigarettes as I've heard them do in the past.

Then a couple went by and the wife said, "What are the chances?" [that CVS will stop selling cigarettes.] The husband gave a thumbs up and I said, "There are no chances if I don't do something."

A man wearing a baseball cap and carrying a backpack quickly went by with a thumbs-up. A lady with a white shirt hanging out said sarcastically "Good luck with that," after I explained our objective, We had a good laugh. A few fellows wanted to know if I had cigarettes to give them from the packs attached to my signs.

Near the end of my stint, a guy came running out his parked SUV and approached me. He gave me his business card (Lee Brian Reba, ANC Commissioner) and wanted to know what I was doing. He was an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (part of the elected DC government structure). He wanted to know if some of the members of the city council knew about our efforts to get a health care provider like CVS pharmacy to stop selling cigarettes. He especially keyed in on the fact that these pharmacies receive Medicare and Medicaid funds to help treat people with chronic diseases and at the same time they are advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes that are both addictive, injurious and lethal. He asked me to email him information about our efforts. I said that I would. At 6:15 p.m. I left the corner feeling that a lot was accomplished in a relatively short time. What will take place during the opening on Sunday and who can join me in this effort? Will CVS really open; I can't find any notices of the opening online.

You can read about previous protest days and the CVS sells poison project at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS

Day 107, CVS sells poison: Dry and Finally Open.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012.

I arrived at the NEW CVS on the corner of Connecticut and Calvert in Northwest DC at 5:02 p.m. on the first rain-free day since it opened. A female nodded and smiled as she passed by. I stationed myself near the front door and walked back and forth a small distance so that I wouldn't be loitering. A police officer walked by me and I said, "Hello," but I didn't get a response. In front of me, parked along the curb on Calvert Street, was a white Secret Service SUV followed by an unmarked white sedan.

A lady dressed in leather paused to read my "NEW CVS Cigarette-free!" sign prior to entering CVS. She seemed unsure what my sign meant. She was not alone. When she exited I offered to explain what we were doing. She asked if I had an email address. I gave her one of our brochures with my address.

A short guy stared at my sign as he entered CVS. Lots of people paused as they were entering the front door to explore my sign.

A male asked me if CVS had stopped selling cigarettes. I told him that's what we were urging CVS to do. He wished me, "Good luck." A woman dressed all in black smiled as she speed-walked toward Connecticut Avenue right in front of me. Then the Secret Service went into action using its vehicles to block entrance into the intersection of Connecticut and Calvert preparing for some VIP. The motorcade, maybe the President's, came north on Connecticut and turned left onto Calvert, perhaps on its way to the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Then a woman asked if CVS were not selling cigarettes. I told her sadly that CVS was still selling cigarettes. A fellow, seemingly listening to my description of our efforts, piped in, "We've got to get more publicity for that." It appeared that a light went on about the absurdity of a health care provider selling cigarettes.

Some older men yelled out of the window of their car while stopped at the traffic light. They seemed to appreciate the "CVS sells poison" side of my sign and have a few good laughs. A male and female in succession smiled.

Then the cop from earlier came across the street and stood about 20 feet from me reading my sign. I said, "You don't smoke do you?" He didn't answer. (Maybe he had a pack in his left breast pocket. Whoops.) He asked what I was doing. He cut me off before I could explain, saying something about my first amendment rights as long as I didn't bother anyone. I tried to tell him that this was my 107th protest and that I never had a problem, but he cut me off. And then he walked up Connecticut Avenue to give a truck driver a parking ticket.

A guy in the passenger seat of a car stopped on Calvert Street called out of his window to let me know that cigarettes had already caused him great harm. I said that I was sorry to hear that. He said, "Good job, good job," and flashed a thumbs-up.

Two guys approaching the front door of CVS wanted to know if the cigarettes were free in CVS. One said, "I like poison." The wording of the sign also confused other pedestrians. Cigarette-free may translate into free cigarettes more easily for some ethnic groups than others. Hopefully the confused customers made a fuss when they asked for free cigarettes in the store.

Before I ended today's protest I could see a customer and a CVS employee looking at me out of the window. The guy who looked like a customer appears to have asked the employee to look out of the window. A few minutes later two employees were looking out of the store window at me and the sign. I left at 6:15 p.m. and as I crossed the bridge into Dupont Circle, a fellow said, "Great sign, cheers."

You can read more about the CVS sells poison project and previous protest days at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS

Day 108, CVS sells poison: "Weird".
Wednesday, April 25, 2012.

I decided to protest for the first time in the morning at the NEW CVS, the one that opened Sunday April 22, 2012. And I wasn't disappointed, lots of people, lots of interest. I arrived at 8:04 a.m. during rush along Connecticut Ave, Washington, D.C. I went right to the front and only entrance (and exit) door of CVS and slowly paced back and forth along an 8-foot stretch parallel to Calvert Street.

Two guys, one in a baseball cap and the other in a red jacket, approached me soon after my arrival. The one in the red jacket wanted a picture of the sign and the two of us. We moved the sign around until he got the picture he wanted. When he came out of CVS I reminded him that he could see a music video about our efforts on YouTube. He said that he'd check it out. A blond lady smiled as she passed in front of me.

Four young boys on their way to school were halted by the traffic light at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street. Two fathers accompanied them, one on a bicycle. All of them were looking back at my sign and talking, I presume, about it. The only word I could detect among the chatter was "weird." As has happened many times before when children and adults pass our demonstrations, discussions begin about cigarettes, perhaps the best positive unintended consequence of our efforts.

A male smiled as he slowly entered CVS while staring at the sign. A female did like wise. A female in slacks smiled and nodded.

Then a young man dressed in a tie and carrying two large white garbage bags, one in each hand, came out of the front sliding doors to CVS. He had a CVS name tag on. He's the guy I previously saw with two female employees when I demonstrated around 5 p.m. before the store had officially opened. He went by me so quickly that I didn't have a chance to say hello and he just didn't. As he was passing me on his return to the store, I said, "How you doin'?" and he replied in kind. No other conversation.

From my left I heard a guy ask if I had a cigarette for him while he showed me a cigarette butt smoked down to the filter. I told him that I didn't have any. He was a worker who handed out the free newspaper, the Examiner, mostly to people entering or exiting the subway. Then another fellow asked if he could take a picture. He wanted to know if we were against CVS selling cigarettes. He seemed reassured that we were. I encouraged him to check out our music video on YouTube.

A group of woman, mostly dressed in traditional Middle Eastern clothes, crossed in front of me. Two, not dressed traditionally, were smoking cigarettes.

"Yes they do," (referring to the "CVS sells poison" sign) said someone from another all female group that just crossed Connecticut Avenue. They were all dressed in traditional head and body wear. One of them with a fancy camera wanted to take a picture of the sign and me. I accommodated her wish and urged them to check out our music video on YouTube.

Then a tall man approached me with a broom in hand; he had just been sweeping along the curb on Calvert Street. He asked what I was doing and right away said, "That's a contradiction," when I mentioned that CVS was a licensed health care provider that sold cigarettes. He said that he had an issue with CVS also. He has a son with Attention Deficit Disorder and CVS wants to charge full price for his son's medication even though his family is on Medicaid. He also has a son with autism. Some people have pretty tough lives and he said to me, "I admire your convictions." I admire his.

Then he got back into his clean-up vehicle with the giant vacuum hose for leaves, waved and turned right on to Connecticut Avenue.

The pedestrian traffic got pretty light so I left about 9:15 a.m., satisfied that something good would come after finishing our 108th protest of CVS.

(You can read about the CVS sells poison project and previous protest days at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS)

Day 109, CVS sells poison: Rite Aid does too.
Friday, May 4, 2012.

It was in the mid 50s when I arrived at the NEW CVS on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street, Washington, DC at 8:12 a.m. I immediately received a nice smile from a blond reading my sign. Trucks were lined up along Calvert preparing to redo the entire sidewalk in front of the CVS pharmacy, my site today. The trucks tried to maneuver onto the sidewalk while people were rushing to work. Not a pretty site.

During this time two pictures were taken of my sign and me. At 8:36 a.m. the excruciating sound of a spinning steel blade cutting through the sidewalk started. Little kids and their parents held their hands over their ears as they stood at the intersection waiting to cross Connecticut Avenue. Four trucks, a backloader and the cutting machine made up the army attacking the old sidewalk.

People were herded into the street to get past the destruction work; I perched myself so all the detoured pedestrians could see the CVS sells poison sign. A man with a shoulder bag passed and gave an approving nod. Then the CVS manager came out the front door and started up Connecticut Avenue after whom a female employee came running out the door yelling that a guy had just stolen stuff. I looked down Calvert Street and saw a bald headed guy hustling with four bottles of liquid Tide. The manager with the long sleeve shirt and tie got the message and started running after the guy. I could overhear the sidewalk cutter remark to a CVS employee that he didn't expect something like this in this neighborhood. In a few minutes the manager returned with four bottles of liquid Tide. I asked him how he got them back. He said that the bottles were too heavy for the thief to run very long with them. He had a smile on his face and was friendly to me. A lady in glasses wearing black and carrying a shoulder bag said to me, "Thank you for being here."

Next, I received a double stare from a lady in an aqua summer dress. Then the CVS manager came out again and returned shortly afterward with a manila envelope in his hand. The street cleaner, who supported our effort the last time we protested here, returned and wished me a good weekend.

I left at 9:15 a.m. and started for home but decided to protest in front of the Rite Aid pharmacy that is on my route down Connecticut Avenue. A female in green smiled as she passed by. A man standing on the pedestrian island stopped to take a picture of the front of Rite Aid with me. I waved to him when he left. A lady then came down the hill and said something about the fact that my sign said "CVS" and I was standing in front of a Rite Aid. I had fun with this before when I demonstrated in front of a Walgreens with my CVS sign.

A Rite Aid employee came out immediately to take a smoke break, but when she saw me she took her activity down Florida Avenue to a spot I couldn't see. Then a man in a tie and long sleeve shirt came out to smoke. I asked him if this was his store. I believe he was the manager. He said something about the freedom to smoke, which I didn't dispute. I tried to tell him that because Rite Aid was a licensed health care provider, it shouldn't sell cigarettes. I'm not sure he got it, but he did say, "You have a right to protest." Two uniformed street cleaners took their break eating snacks while sitting on a granite barrier fronting this Rite Aid. They said that they didn't smoke.

Then a man asked if he could take a picture of my sign and me. His family was from Ethiopia where he said that children were encouraged to smoke by the sale of "singles" and not requiring any proof of age for purchasing. He asked a pedestrian going by to take a picture of the two of us and my sign. The first person we asked was kind enough to take a picture. The Ethiopian was not satisfied with the picture. He wanted it for Facebook. We asked another person to take a picture. And he complied immediately. He said that the picture would be dark because of where we were standing. I suggested a sunny spot up the hill and he said that he'd take another shot. We moved into place and got a good picture. The requester took my email address on our brochure so that he could send me the pictures.

He also told me that he was trying very hard to quit cigarettes, which he'd been smoking since he was a child. He was using nicotine gum to help him. He showed me the packets that contained his gum. He'd been off cigarettes for three weeks. He said that he looks older than his friends who don't smoke do. He told a long involved story about a woman he met who was still smoking although she had cancer and that inspired him to stop. He said that his religious leaders had urged him to quit smoking. I left at about 10:07 a.m. after shaking hands and wishing him well and giving him some tips related to quitting.

You can read about the CVS sells poison project and previous protest days at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS

Day 110, CVS sells poison: "Are you serious?"
Thursday, May 17, 2012.

I arrived at 4:50 p.m. on a warm day at the newest CVS is Washington, DC. Just before I got there I was walking up a steep hill filled with hundreds of high schoolers on school trips to the nation's capital. One of their chaperones wanted to take a picture of the CVS sells poison sign, so I stopped in place. She thanked me.

At the CVS pharmacy a guy went by and said out loud, "Sell poison?" Another man looked towards me as he stood on the corner and smiled. Then he lit up his cigarette.

A guy started to joke around, pretending to try to take one of the packs of cigarettes off my sign. He also lit up as he moved toward the curb on Connecticut Avenue. A bicyclist queried, "Sell poison?"

Lots of runners (aka joggers) crossed my path at this intersection. One female runner smiled. A curly haired lady wanted to know if I were selling cigarettes. I overheard a father say to his kids, "They sell poison."

A guy in a long sleeve white shirt nodded repeatedly and affirmatively. I saw two ladies kissing, and as one of them went by me she said, "Right on." Then a man smiled. Three girls and a guy waited for the traffic light to change; one of the girls flashed a firm thumbs-up. A female came out the front door of CVS wearing glasses and gave a big smile.

A guy dismounted his bicycle and asked if he could take a picture of the sign and me. I posed for him as he juggled his bike and camera. I moved so he'd get the best shot. A female with a backpack gave thumbs-up. A tall dude went by quickly and shouted, "Are you serious?" A father and son discussed my sign in earnest. Well, that was our 110th protest. May 20th was the Second Anniversary of our street protests.

You can read about the CVS sells poison project and previous protest days at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS

Day 111, CVS sells poison: Hot and Humid.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012.

It was 8:17 a.m. on a steamy 78 degree morning when I arrived at the very busy CVS pharmacy on the corner of Dupont Circle and P Street in Washington, DC.

A little boy about 4 or 5 years old asked his father "What is that?" as he went by looking at my "CVS sells poison" sign. Ali, the CVS manager, came out the front door and greeted two women, pointed to me and said, "Do you want to have a smoke with him?"

Then a woman wearing glasses gave a thumbs-up as she passed by. It just dawned on me that in 111 outdoor demonstrations I have never received a thumbs-down. Not bad? Not that I haven't heard a few unkind words.

A lady carrying a lit cigarette went by casting her eyes away from me. I gave out directions to tourists and others today. A puzzled female stopped as she began to enter the CVS store and said, "Is that right?"

A woman wearing sunglasses flashed a big smile. Another female dressed all in white gave a smile while another lady carrying a bag in each hand smiled as well. While coming out the front door a woman said, "I agree," as she pointed to the words on the sign.

A tall lean male said, "Good for you," and "Thanks," as he proceeded toward P Street. There was a constant stream of adults and kids going in and out of this CVS. At about 9:31 a.m. with the temperature on the bank clock reading 81 degrees and me standing in the direct sun, I got ready to take my soaked body home.

You can read about the CVS sells poison project and previous protest days at www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS

Day 112, CVS sells poison: Even cars smoke.
Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

It was nearly 5 p.m. when I arrived at the very busy Dupont Circle and P Street corner CVS pharmacy in Washington, DC. The temperature was a cool and comfortable 69 degrees F. There were lots of people going in every direction around me as I stayed near the front of the building near the door.

A female dressed all in black presented with a big smile, followed by another female in a beige dress and carrying bags in each hand who also smiled. A man with a round-faced smile dressed all in black and wearing sunglasses stopped to address me before stepping into CVS. He said, "I don't smoke," as he started to enter the front door. When he came out he looked my way and flashed a thumbs-up.

A tall lean wavy haired youngster rested against the front of CVS and lit up a cigarette. I stayed away from him but he seemed to purposely brush against me as he took to the sidewalk to walk past me.

A female stopped right in the entrance to CVS to stare at my sign. Then a female bicyclist going around Dupont Circle in the street took in the sign. A small college aged man stopped as he exited CVS to ask, "Do you get paid?" He wondered if I had a day job. I gave him one of our flyers with the original letter we sent to Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS. I told him I had worked at the University of Miami Medical School. I asked him what he did and he said that he tutored disadvantaged children for ten months but was getting ready to study philosophy in graduate school. As he left he said, "Keep up the good fight."

A lady in an orange T-shirt smiled as she entered the front door of CVS. A man in a suit stopped after saying that he liked my sign. I wasn't sure he understood what the sign meant, but he did. I gave him a flyer and he asked if I were a doctor. I explained that I had a Ph.D. but my son was a medical doctor as indicated on the flyer. He started to go away and then came back to tell me that he smoked a little. I said that I thought that it was best if he didn't smoke at all. He seemed very interested when I told him about carbon monoxide displacing oxygen in the blood. Another male went by and said, "Poison."

Then a sports car pulled up to the curb in front of me with a white plume coming from under the hood. I told the woman driving it to turn off the car and exit as soon as possible. I thought that there might be a fire under the hood.

She seemed to know a lot about what was happening, but she didn't say very much. I poked my head into CVS to ask someone to call the fire department. I didn't get much of a response and I never saw a fire engine arrive.

She released the hood and then lifted it up. You could see that there was no fire, just steam from the coolant reservoir. A young Hispanic stopped to aid the woman. He went into CVS and came out with a bottle of cold water to cool off the reservoir cap off so he could remove it. The driver obtained coolant from her trunk. She must have had some prior experience with this problem. He got the cap off and poured coolant in. She offered him some money but he didn't want to take it. She stuffed it into his backpack and prepared to leave.

Then a young man stopped me and asked if he could take a picture of me. I asked him where I should stand. At 6:15 p.m. I started for home with the temperature still a cool 69 degrees F. The end of the 112th protest. Lots of children and teenagers getting the message. There also were groups of 20 to 30 year olds from other countries passing in very dark suits throughout my protest. They took note of the protest.

Day 113, CVS sells poison: "I appreciate what you are doing."
Monday, June 11, 2012.

I rolled out of bed about 7:30 a.m., got dressed, swigged some orange juice and skim milk, grabbed my "CVS sells poison" sign and YouTube neck sign, pocketed two pens, a tiny notebook, handouts and house key and walked to the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle, Washington, DC. It was a humid 77 degrees F when I arrived.

A large female smiled at me as she entered the pharmacy. A blond lady continued to stare at the sign as walked along the sidewalk. On his way out of CVS, a man nodded in my direction.

The senior female CVS employee came out the front door to have a smoke. A female looked three times at the sign as she entered the store. Then the senior employee put out her cigarette and went to the ATM before leaving in a cab. She was assisted by whom I think was an assistant manager. I didn't want her to get in trouble, so I didn't say anything in front of him. But then she rolled down the window and yelled out, "Good bye."

I said, "Hello," to the assistant manager (?) whom I had not seen before and he returned my salutation.

Three little girls with eyeglasses entered the pharmacy with two adult women. As they entered two of the girls stared at my sign. Then a father accompanied by his wife and two daughters asked if he could take a picture of my sign and me. While he was composing the picture one of his daughters took a picture with her smart phone.

A man in very casual clothes smiled as he entered CVS. A young woman in a black T-shirt and jeans stopped to say, "I appreciate what you are doing." I thanked her for her support and urged her to check us out on YouTube. A female going by smiled. Another female gave a long stare as she entered the front door.

A man wearing glasses smiled and gave a thumbs-up as he entered CVS. A guy in shorts gave the only negative response of the day when he said, "They don't have to buy them."

A woman in sunglasses sincerely said, "Thank you." Another woman stared at the sign for awhile and finally indicated that she got it. When she came out she said, "I didn't buy anything." She wanted to know where she could get a digital camera. While I was giving directions a male pedestrian asked if he could take a picture of my sign and me. I stood still for him.

At 9:30 a.m. it was 80 degrees F. I had been in the direct sun the whole time. When I arrived home I was soaked. There were crowds of people, workers, traveling business people and tourists during my entire protest, number 113th.

Day 114, CVS sells poison: "I like what you are doing."
Thursday, June 21, 2012.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy (Washington, DC) at 7:20 a.m. with the temperature at 79 degrees F and on a rapid rise to 99 degrees with high humidity. This is the third summer of protesting in the extreme Washington heat. The first man to respond proudly said, "I don't smoke no tobacco." Then a male in full scrubs smiled as he passed by. A guy in a baseball cap nodded several times in response to my sign.

A young male stepped out of the front door of CVS and began to loudly tap his newly bought cigarette pack against his palm. He took a few more steps away from the door and began to tap the pack hard again, an ancient habit.

The senior female CVS worker came out the front door to have a smoke while she waited for a cab to take her home. I opened the rear cab door for her to enter and as the cab started to leave, one of the CVS managers ran out to car carrying a portable cooling fan for the CVS worker to take home. He caught the taxi just in time.

I decided that I would say "Good morning," to everyone that passed for a change. I did this for quite a while until I realized that such a large percentage of people were wearing earphones that most of them couldn't hear me. After getting only a few responses, I stopped my greetings. A man came out the front door and said, "Good luck."

A woman stopped and stared as she entered the front door before saying, "Oh, OK," as she took in the sign and finally got the message.

A man came out of the front door and flashed a thumbs-up.

A lady stopped to check out my sign while smoking a cigarette. She then smiled at me and put out her cigarette and went into CVS.

The temperature climbed to 85 degrees at 8:45 a.m. A lady passing, looked in my direction and said, "I like what you are doing."

Another female smiled as the temperature hit 86 degrees at 9:00 a.m. It was gratifying to see a lot of tourists with children taking in the message on my sign.

With my shirt soaked I started to go home at 9 a.m.

Day 115, CVS sells poison: "Catering to people who smoke."
Monday, June 25, 2012.

I arrived at the newest CVS pharmacy in D.C. at 7:35 a.m. after an uphill walk. As soon as I arrived a man in his 20s looked at my sign and raised his eyebrows twice. A female on her way to work smiled after reading my sign.

A lady dressed in black stared at the sign twice with a short break in the middle. A female standing at the corner of Calvert and Connecticut Avenue, a long distance from where I was standing, smiled after reading my sign.

I noticed something new during this protest at CVS. The store now had a very large receptacle for trash stationed just to the right of the front door. Centered on top of the trash bin was a container accessed by two half dollar sized holes, one on each side and rimmed by two polished silver colored metal rings. I saw a man place an extinguished cigarette into one of the holes.

When no one was near the door I opened the top of this container to find it filled with butts. I guess that CVS didn't want all the butts on the ground around its front door so it placed this specially designed trash container at its front door. Because the container wasn't obviously intended for extinguished cigarettes, there were still lots of butts on the ground near the front door. CVS tried.

The whole time that I was demonstrating there were runners going past me and crossing the intersection near where I was perched. A mother and son came running up to the traffic light and then halted and gave each other high fives and smiles.

A lady carrying a shoulder bag checked out my sign and said, "Great!" as she passed by.

Two children, a girl and a boy, with their father passed by going towards the intersection. The children seemed to be asking their father about the sign.

With my back facing the front door I was approached by a man in his 20s going into CVS. He got my attention by saying, "Thank you very much," twice. A lady in a motorized chair sped through the front door of CVS. When she came out she quickly lit up a cigarette.

At about 9:00 a.m. I started my down hill walk home. The 115th protest had been completed. Later in the day I received a response from Walgreens to the letter that I had sent to the Secretary of Health and Human Service regarding the sale of cigarettes in drug stores.

Day 116, CVS sells poison: "They don't care if it [cigarettes] costs $20."
Wednesday, July 11, 2012.

Today was protest day number 116 and my third summer doing this. I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 7:50 a.m. where a large milk delivery truck was already parked along the curb cutting out some of the sun's rays, a good thing. D.C. just finished a streak of 100 plus degree-days. Enough heat already. The temperature was 76 degrees F and humid.

A man smiled as he entered CVS after staring at my sign. He said, "I'm OK." A lady carrying a shoulder bag raised her eyebrows as she passed by. Two members of the U.S. Army in their running shorts and T-shirts cruised by on foot, one saying in response to my sign, "True." A lady pulling her suitcase asked where the Panera restaurant was located. I pointed it out and when she returned with her breakfast she said, "Thank you sir."

A young male wearing shades and earphones gave a two thumbs-up salute while entering CVS. A tall lean male indicated he knew me and asked what I was up to. I didn't recognize him as we shook hands. He wished me good luck after I explained what I was doing.

A woman asked from a distance while in front of CVS, "You come every year?" Referring to the message on my sign she said, "I go along with that. They don't care if it costs $20; they're still going to buy it."

While I was writing some observations, a man in shorts and glasses approached me and asked if he could take a picture. He also asked if it were OK for him to include me in the picture. I said, "Of course." He took several pictures after notifying his wife by phone why he was going to be a little late. I started to explain what I was doing but he stopped me indicating that he got it. He said that he was a physician from Omaha, Nebraska. I gave him one of our handouts.

A female wearing earbuds smiled as she passed. Another female in workout shorts and top smiled after reading my sign. Two CVS employees came out the front door and turned right towards me. One was a manager and the other was a floor worker, both designated by the type of shirts they wore. I looked at them but they didn't respond.

A blond lady in a ponytail smiled on entering CVS. A lady with a backpack heading for the front door of CVS said out loud, "CVS sells poison, wow!"

The most senior CVS employee came outside to have a smoke and chat. Then she called a cab and went home. She works the night shift. Ali, the manager, came out and told a panhandler that he had to leave the area of the store. The panhandler left. I asked Ali how he was doing and he abruptly said, "OK." He didn't want to chat. A woman with frameless glasses smiled as she read my sign.

Three people in beige suits, one woman and two men passed by. One of the men said in a joking manner, "Did you know that CVS sells poison? Did you know that?

At 9:23 a.m. I set out to go home with the temperature still not too bad (77 F) but on its way to 90. There were lots of foreign visitors today.

Day 117, CVS sells poison: "So something is wrong with you."
Monday, July 23, 2012.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 7:32 a.m. with the temperature already at 76 degrees F with very high humidity. I wore my Gandhi T-shirt and YouTube sign.

A man in shorts exited CVS and did a double take view of my sign. Another man wearing a bicycle helmet came out the front door right behind and also did a double take. Then a male with an extra large backpack shot by saying, "They also sell abortion pills. That kills people … ."

A senior CVS worker came out for a smoke after working the overnight shift. She described the difficulty of working when junkies enter her store. It is a dangerous situation that needs correction before a tragedy occurs.

A runner ran by on the sidewalk in front of me and flashed a double thumbs-up. A CVS employee entered the store while staring at my sign. I said, "Hello," and got no reply.

When I opened the cab door for the senior CVS employee going home, she said, "Thank you young man." At 69, I'm pretty sure I'm older than she is. One of the benefits of not smoking.

A biker rode by and gave a single thumbs-up. Then a guy in a colorful top and shorts asked if I had any cigarettes in the packs attached to my sign. Then he left but quickly came back to ask who pays me. I said, "No one." And he asked if I were a volunteer and I indicated I was. He then remarked, "So something's wrong with you."

A female smiled as she exited CVS pulling her suitcase on wheels. Crowds of people kept pouring past me, tourists, workers and participants attending the International AIDS Conference. Two guys entered the store, one of them saying to the other, "Cigarettes."

A female approached with her suitcase on wheels and asked if she could take a picture with her phone. I said, "Sure." Then a man immediately asked if he could take a picture. Then a tourist with his female partner showed up in my line of sight. Although he didn't ask, I stood still so that he could take a picture with his camera. He smiled to his partner when he finished and walked off.

A female in a dress came out of CVS and smiled in my direction. At 9:00 a.m. I left for home with my T-shirt soaked. As I walked north on 19th Street a woman pushing a stroller accompanied by a man (I guess her husband) said dramatically, "You have a point. Good fight. Good fight." I thanked her for her remarks.

Day 118, CVS sells poison: "I see you're still here also."
Wednesday, July 26, 2012.

As I arrived at the Dupont Circle (D.C.) CVS pharmacy I saw a man in a suit tapping his unopened pack of L & M cigarettes hard and repeatedly into the palm of his hand. It was 7:24 a.m. when I arrived and the temperature was 76 degrees F. Fortunately, it was hazy and never go too hot during my protest. A female came out the front door wearing white slacks and smiled in my direction. Then a very large female started to enter the front door and stopped to say, "Are you still here?" We laughed as I said, "I see that you're still here also." A big guy entered and flashed a big smile towards me. A CVS employee, perhaps a pharmacist, entered the store.

An SUV stopped at the curb in front of the store. Two females got out and placed two file boxes on a vertical dolly. I could see that the top box contained papers with headshots attached and the letters CVS at the top. I thought they could be personnel files or applications for jobs. One of the women rolled the boxes through the front doorway. The other woman gave my sign a strange look. The license on the SUV read "ILUVME2".

Then a man pushing a food cart with breakfast items and coffee entered the front door. A little later, the manager and the man with the cart came out the front door and went around the corner to enter the building from a side door.

A very large man in all directions, wearing a brown suit and glasses said, "You're so busy man, you better make the rounds." I didn't tell him that I've completed 117 protests at 18 different CVSs.

A man going into the store said that he was with me until he saw the Newport pack on the back of my sign. He said, "Newports aren't poison."

Then a guy in walking shorts said as he smoked, "I'm a masochist. I know that they're bad for me." A young woman approached me from the rear and patted me on the back and said, "I admire your efforts." I thanked her for the kind words and asked her to check us out on YouTube.

A guy entering CVS asked if he could buy two cigarettes from me. Then a very tall lean fellow going into CVS said, "I'm with you on that." He repeated this statement when he exited the store. A male passerby raised his whole arm in approval. A blond lady smiled. Then a tall passerby gave a military salute. A lady pulled up to the curb and asked me where she could park so she could attend the meeting going on at CVS. I entered the store and got the manager who I had seen give directions to an earlier arrival. A female smiled and said, "Hello," as she exited. A male nodded affirmatively. A blond passerby gave a big smile. At 9:15 a.m. I left with hardly a wet shirt. The entire protest time was filled with customers and passersby traveling, site seeing and going to work and school.

Day 119, CVS sells poison: "I hear you brother."
Wednesday, August 8, 2012.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, DC) CVS pharmacy at 8:03 a.m. on a hazy 78 degree F day for our 119th protest. The first man to approach me repeated what he had said to me in the past – something about CVS selling an abortion drug that killed little babies. I remained silent.

A female in a black dress smiled as she passed by. Another female wearing a green T-shirt exited CVS and said, "Good morning."

A young man with a near-Afro hairdo passed by saying, "That's true," while looking at my sign. Another female smiled broadly. In contrast a woman barked at me, "So just don't buy them."

While I was demonstrating a Pepsi truck driver unloaded hundreds of bottles, not of Pepsi but water bottles, that he wheeled into CVS.

Two men discussed my sign and I heard, "Cigarettes," from one of them. A female wearing a tank top smiled and gave a thumbs-up. Then the daughter of a friend of mine approached and asked if there were something on her face. She said that people had been staring at her as she was walking on the sidewalk. I told her that maybe they were looking at her cute hairstyle.

A couple stared at my sign as they were entering the front entrance to CVS. Then I heard a woman say that I should go stand at Marlboros or Newports. I'm not sure what she meant.

A male waved positively as he entered CVS, while another smiled as he exited. Then I saw a man, whom I believed was a regional manager when I demonstrated months ago at the newest CVS in DC, enter the front door of CVS with envelopes in his hand. He was wearing a suit. He did not respond to my, "Hello." He didn't respond to me when I encountered him at the newest CVS either. I doubt he was happy to see my sign and me.

A woman sporting a bee hive hair do smiled as she passed by. "I hear you brother," said a young man as he entered CVS. When I left my post at 9:30 a.m. it was still hazy and humid at 82 degrees F.

The next protest will be number 120. Wouldn't it be extraordinary if the CEO of CVS actually decided not to advertise, promote, distribute and sell lethal addictive products just because they add to CVS's bottom line?

Day 120, CVS sells poison: My smokeless cigarette.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It was a hazy 73 degrees F at 7:55 a.m. when I arrived at the Dupont Circle (DC) CVS pharmacy for our 120th protest. I decided to keep an unlit cigarette in my mouth during the protest. I was immediately asked if I had a light by a panhandler sitting near the front door of CVS. Then I saw two male CVS employees come out a side door that was unused by customers. I said, "Hello," to them when they returned. Not much of a response in return. A man took a picture of me with his phone without asking permission; nearly all people who wanted to take pictures in the past asked for permission.

An admitted smoker said, "Good of you to do that for nothing," as he entered the store. He had stopped to ask me what the reasoning was behind our protest.

"Mind if I take a picture of you?" asked a male passerby. I posed as usual. A lady who smiled when she went into the store came out with cigarettes and started to light up after she exited. Then a mom with her two sons and husband passed by. She said, "True," and flashed a thumbs-up. A woman said, "Mind if I take a picture?" I stood perfectly still for the shoot. Another female smiled in my direction and then another nodded affirmatively.

A couple entered the store with the female smiling in my direction.

A female raised her hand to salute as she entered the store. "It's true," said a woman as she entered CVS. Then a male with a fancy camera asked if he could take a picture of the sign with me hidden behind it. I complied. A female in his party also took pictures of the sign using her smart phone.

Another pedestrian asked what was going on in Australia regarding the plain packaging of cigarettes. He also wanted to know what we were doing. Two kids went into CVS with one staring at my sign. I was asked if I had any cigarettes in the packs attached to my sign, not a new question. A man going into CVS joyfully said that he was going to buy cigarettes right now.

At 9:30 a.m. the temperature was still a comfortable 78 degrees F as I prepared to leave. The T-shirt vendor said that he gave one of my Toxic-Tobacco Law T-shirts to a needy homeless person. He offered to pay me for the shirt but I refused to take any money.

It seemed like having the cigarette in my mouth during the demonstration increased the attention paid by passersby.

Day 121, CVS sells poison: The 1%.
Monday, November 12, 2012

The sky was light blue with puffy thin clouds as I walked to the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown, home of the Wall Street Journal's Annual Meeting of the CEO Council: 100 high-powered CEOs coming together to recommend solutions to some of America's most urgent economic problems. Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, would be participating on a task force called "Remaking health care."

I decided that I would wear a dark suit and red tie, and carry my sign in front of the Four Seasons Hotel. Since the hotel had a circular drive I placed myself on the sidewalk right where cars enter the driveway. This way Larry Merlo and many of the other CEOs would see my sign as they approached the hotel to attend the 5:30 p.m. reception prior to dinner.

From 4:20 p.m. until I left at 6:30 p.m. a continuous line of cars entered the driveway, most with a male seated in the right rear seat of a limousine. I did not see Larry Merlo arrive. Because most of the windows were tinted dark, it was very difficult to tell who the passengers were.

Several women said they agreed with my sign shortly after I arrived. One of the chauffeurs started to smoke near me. I said, "Hello," but didn't get a reply. A woman went by saying, "Doesn't everybody know that?"

A guy wearing an earpiece came near me and then retreated to tell his coworkers that the sign read "CVS sells poison." A couple (one male and one female) smiled as they passed. Another woman raised her eyebrows as she took in the sign.

A very large (in width) man came out and I said "Hi". He replied and then proceeded to define where I could stand so that I didn't block any patrons. He wasn't too restrictive so I just went along with him.

After he left two other Four Seasons employees came out and approached me. Only one spoke. He asked why I didn't go across the street where there was a CVS store. I explained that the CEO of CVS was in his hotel. He wanted to know how I knew. I told him to check the reservation desk. He told me I couldn't stand on the drive, which happens to coincide with the DC sidewalk. He was not happy that I was there. I asked for his business card and he asked why. I said that he was trying to intimidate me. He refused to give me his card. Maybe he didn't have one.

As he left I mistakenly called out to him, "This was the most difficult time I've had in 120 protests." He seemed offended. He marched back to discuss my claim. He then left with the other guy and I never saw them again. (This happens to be the hotel where most of the world's dignitaries stay when in our nation's capital.)

Hundreds of high school boys went by in a large group with four or five overtly showing their understanding and support of our effort. That's always very encouraging.

A guy in a suit came close to me and said, "Let them [smokers] kill themselves. People are stupid sh*ts." A medical student from The George Washington University stopped to talk about our efforts and his feeling that industry just doesn't care about people's health; it just wants to profit. Hasn't this project confirmed that? He took a picture and promised to email it to me.

"Keep up the good work," said a guy as he passed. A female smiled. Joe Lieberman, a conference participant, arrived right in front of me.

I talked to a limousine driver whose mother had told him never to smoke (He heeded her.). He said that the duty-free stores in Istanbul contained cartons of cigarettes emblazoned with "Smoking will kill you." He said to me, "Good luck. You're doing a good job."

Larry Merlo of CVS is the 1% of CEOs at this council meeting who presides over a company that knowingly advertises, promotes, distributes and sells a product that is addictive and lethal when used as intended.

At 6:30 p.m. I left not seeing Larry Merlo, CVS CEO; but perhaps he saw our sign or someone he knew saw it and mentioned it to him at the reception or dinner. This concluded our first protest in the dark.

At www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org/13news.shtml#CVS you can read more about the "CVS sells poison. project and previous protest days.

Day 122, CVS sells poison: "F*ckin' CVS sells poison.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

I arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel at 11:17 a.m. again hoping to see Larry Merlo, CVS CEO. The sky was a clear blue following morning rains. Workers were replacing an electrical transformer right in front of me and had closed off the sidewalk. A worker immediately blurted out "YouTube, YouTube," responding to the sign around my neck.

A female in dark clothes smiled as she passed by. A man in a cab waved his cigarette pack at me. A chauffeur ran by me down the driveway and yelled, "That they do," in response to the CVS sells poison written on my sign.

Then a man in a brown suit working for the hotel told me to go away. "Go across the street," he said pointing to the CVS across M Street in Georgetown. I told him that the CEO of CVS was in his hotel. He said that he wasn't. I said he was and that I was not going to leave. He left and he never approached me again.

A cabby expressed his support. Another driver said that it [cigarettes] was poison and "I wish I could stop." A male passerby flashing a pack of cigarettes said, "It's my best friend." Another man dressed in a dark suit and looking like a CEO said, "Good sign. Clear."

A non-smoker yelled that his wife's been smoking for 40 years and that he hoped she would die so that he could get a new wife. Joking?

An imposing drunk man appeared and started to yell, "F*ckin' CVS sells poison," over and over again. I thought for sure that the Four Seasons militia was going to arrive any moment. Fortunately he was on our side and a bus arrived soon. A fire truck went by and the occupants gave two thumbs-up. Then a lady went by showing interest in our message. She turned back towards me after passing by to say that her husband died of lung cancer. I said that I was sorry.

Roger Daughtry of the Who got into a cab in front of me according to a guy who asked me if I knew who just hopped into a cab in front of me. A security guard asked if he could take a picture. Of course I said, "Yes."

"Good job, good job," said another limousine driver. Two teenage girls stopped to ask if we were against CVS or cigarettes. I explained what we were trying to accomplish.

Another driver wanted to know what we were trying to accomplish and why CVS. He showed great enthusiasm for the movement and took a picture and a handout. Just before I left a little after 3:00 p.m. an Australian man stopped to ask about our project and tell me about the plain packaging of cigarettes that has been started in his country. He wished us good luck and thanked us for our efforts.

Our efforts weren't good enough to see Larry Merlo, CVS CEO.

Day 123, CVS sells poison: The beat goes on.
Monday, November 26, 2012.

I went back to the newest CVS pharmacy in the District of Columbia at 8:00 a.m. on a crisp 36 degree day. The first woman to walk by said, "Great," as she maneuvered her single crutch. "True indeed," said a guy with a hood. Lots of kids walked or biked by with their fathers or mothers on their way to an elementary school across Connecticut Avenue. It was obvious that many of the children were asking their parents about the sign I was displaying, maybe the best unintended consequence of our demonstrations.

I picked this CVS for another protest because it was applying for a liquor license, which was noted in a Washington Post article called "CVS revives notion of a general store for the 21st century." The morning was quieter than expected, perhaps because it was the first Monday after Thanksgiving. I waved and got a friendly smile from a CVS employee filling shelves inside before I left around 9:30 a.m.

And here's something I failed to mention a while back. Last year PR Newswire refused to run our press release entitled "CVS Pharmacy Called on to Make Historic Public Health Announcement." Clearly we were being censored and we should have protested at the time.

Day 124, CVS sells poison: The Unbroken Cigarette.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012.

It was a cold morning (38 degrees F) at 8:17 a.m. when I arrived at one of the busiest CVS pharmacies in the Nation's capital, right on the corner of Dupont Circle and P Street. As soon as I arrived a woman said, "I agree." Good start.

I decided to try something new by staying on the P Street side of the store instead of on the Circle. By staying in this spot, not only was I seen by the pedestrian traffic coming up P Street and around the Circle from the Metro, but also by the vehicular traffic coming up P Street and entering the Circle or stopping at the red traffic light.

With the vehicular traffic added, we were able to expose more people to the "CVS sells poison" message. Whenever I flashed a thumbs-up to the drivers and passengers, I nearly always got a thumbs-up in return, very reinforcing.

A car went by and the driver gave a thumbs-up. Two neighbors went by, one gave me a hug for my efforts. A big, quarter ton truck went by and the driver flashed a thumbs-up. A couple sitting in the back of a taxicab both nodded affirmatively when they saw my sign. Another car stopped at the light and the driver flashed a thumbs-up toward me.

A man in a beige suit carrying two pads walked past me with an angry face and entered the front door of CVS. When he came out I saw him quickly try to light a cigarette.

Speaking of cigarettes, during my entire protest I had an unlit cigarette in my mouth. As happened once before, the cigarette attracts further attention. The last time I used a cigarette as a prop, it got saturated from my saliva after a short time and the front of the cigarette fell off the filter. I was better prepared this time. For this protest I had rapped Scotch tape around the filtered end so that my saliva could not reach any of the cigarette paper or tobacco. It worked and I'll be able to use the cigarette as a prop again.

I could see a camera pointing in my direction from the downed right rear window of a black limousine. I stood still while the person shot. A guy with an unlit cigarette approached and asked for a light. I pointed to my sign and said, "Cigarettes are poison."

A car and pedestrian both produced thumbs-up. I didn't see the CVS manager today.

Just before I left a woman stopped to say in a puzzled tone, "But you are smoking a cigarette." I assured her that I wasn't smoking but that the cigarette surely got her attention. She continued to talk as she started to enter the front door of CVS. She said to me, "I don't smoke."

With my hands nearly frozen ("No pain, no gain") I left at 9:37 a.m., happy to have added the vehicular traffic to our routine. We still have not heard from Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, after 124 protests and many letters.

Day 125, CVS sells poison: "I don't want to litter."
Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

It was cold again (37 degrees F) at 7:55 a.m. when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on the corner of Dupont Circle and P Street in Washington, DC. As soon as I arrived a former neighbor's daughter passed by and said, "I'm impressed. Aren't you cold?"

A big guy in sweats passed by looking intently at my sign. A few minutes later he came out of CVS while opening a pack of cigarettes. An empty city bus pulled up next to me and the driver opened his door to ask what I was doing. When I explained, he really seemed to get it. A catering company arrived and brought food to the second floor of CVS where management meets on Wednesday. I couldn't identify any of the arrivals for the meeting.

When I gave a thumbs-up to the driver of a car stopped at the traffic light, he nodded affirmatively. A guy exited CVS tapping his pack of cigarettes very hard against his palm as close to me as possible. A blond lady in a white car gave a thumbs-up. Another man waved in response to the sign. A cab driver gave a thumbs-up, as did a driver in a black sports car. Another cabby gave a thumbs-up. A family of three studied my sign from its car with the parents explaining what was happening to a child in the back seat. And then the part that made my day.

A young African-American lady, probably in her 20's, stopped her car close to the curb at the nearby traffic light. She waved to me in response to my thumbs-up and I acknowledged her. When I tried to get the attention of the driver behind her I heard her call me from the right front window which she had just lowered.

She said, "I don't want to litter." But, she wanted to throw her pack of Newport cigarettes away. She said that she had been off cigarettes for five days and only kept the cigarettes in her car to see if she could resist temptation. She said that she had three cigarettes in the pack and then flung the pack out of her window right in front of me. I picked it up and congratulated her. I said that she made my day and she flashed the biggest smile imaginable as she happily drove off. Just think, if the traffic light hadn't turn red, there might be a very different story. I opened the pack and found three cigarettes that will never be lit.

The driver of a car and the passenger in the back of a cab both gave me parting thumbs-up.

I left at 9:30 a.m., a happy camper, thinking about the lady whose pack of three cigarettes I had in my front, right pocket. What a nice way to celebrate our 125th outdoor protest.

Day 126, CVS sells poison: "Welcome CEO Merlo"
Monday, January 7, 2013.

It was windy at 8: 10 a.m. and 39 degrees F when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy perched on the corner of Dupont Circle and P Street NW in Washington, D.C. A woman went by me and blurted out something that I couldn't comprehend.

I had a special guest with me on this day, Larry Merlo, CVS CEO. A 8.5 by 11 picture of Larry Merlo's head was attached to the right hand top corner of my sign. His name, title and email address ran across the bottom of the picture. I think I should have done this a long time ago. Clearly Larry has been hiding behind the CVS name. He hasn't responded to any of our previous 125 demonstrations, multiple letters, and YouTube videos.

A driver in a limousine van nodded at me as he read my sign. A man wearing a baseball cap gave a thumbs-up as he passed by on the sidewalk. "We know that," said a guy as he passed by.

A guy in a car successfully got my attention to ask if he could take a picture. I stood still for him. Another guy in a car on P Street gave a thumbs-up. A female runner smiled as she took in the sign's message. Then two ladies in separate cars flashed thumbs-ups. Another thumbs-up came from a male pedestrian.

A female entering the front door of CVS remarked emphatically, "You are right." Just before 9:30 a.m. a man, who turned out to be a vice-president of a realty firm, stopped to ask about CVS, what the poison was, and the role of the other chain pharmacies. He wanted to know about our presence on YouTube. He indicated that he might write to Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS.

Day 127, CVS sells poison: Larry Merlo, CEO, visits two CVSs.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

It was 7:58 a.m. and 37 degrees F when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy entrenched on the corner of Dupont Circle and P Street NW in Washington, D.C. Two women smiled as they passed by. A guy stopped to ask to which poison was I referring. "Oh, cigarettes," he said. He had just bought a pack and then said, "I got to quit."

A friend who lives in Georgetown, dressed in a suit, walked by on his way to work. A young man started a conversation and suggested that the taxes be raised "like in New York City" in order to discourage smoking. He agreed that pharmacies should not sell cigarettes.

A cab driver gave a thumbs-up, as did a female driver of a car stopped at the traffic light. A blond woman walking by said, "I agree." A man with gray hair said, "That's great that you're doing that." Then I walked over to another CVS near Dupont Circle.

This CVS is very close to the newly reopened exit escalators from the Metro, DC's subway system. Thousands of commuters come off the escalators each morning and this morning I got lots of stares at my sign with Larry Merlo's headshot attached. At about 9:30 a.m. I headed home having completed our 127th protest.

Day 128, CVS sells poison: Larry Merlo, CEO, visits K Street.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013.

It was a comfortable 59 degree (F) day when I arrived about 8:30 a.m. at the busiest subway exit in downtown D.C. at the corner of K Street NW (home of the lobbyists) and Connecticut Avenue. I wanted the photo of Larry Merlo's head on my CVS sells poison sign to become familiar to the thousands of workers who disembark onto K Street. A CVS pharmacy sits a short distance northwest up Connecticut Avenue.

I heard a male passing behind me say, "Don't buy 'em." The wind started to pick up and didn't stop during my stint. I had to carefully hang onto my sign and the flip-flopping YouTube sign around my neck.

A female went by quickly saying, "What about the other drug stores?" A worker with his dolly approached me and said, "Just Marlboro is poison?" I tried to tell him that I was trying to say that all cigarettes were poison. When I assumed that he didn't smoke, he corrected me and told me he currently smokes. Maybe he now knows that he's smoking poison.

Not long before I finished my protest, a large man took my picture without asking permission. I didn't care and hope that he posts the picture online. The morning was filled with waves of workers coming off the escalators onto street level on their way to work. No one was smiling; most however, looked seriously at my sign.

There was nothing remarkable about our 128th protest except that Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS, joined me on K Street NW. We hope to hear from Larry Merlo soon. I left about 9:30 a.m. along with the crossing guard.

Day 129, CVS sells poison: A birthday event?
Wednesday, February 6, 2013.

At 8:09 a.m. when I arrived at the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) it was a cool 35 degrees F and breezy.

An SUV went by and the passenger gave a thumbs-up to my sign.

The eldest CVS employee came outside to have a smoke right next to me. We're old buddies by now. When I pointed out that Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, was now on my sign, I also told her that he earned $12 million last year. She replied that Larry Merlo used to work in the DC area when the drug stores were called Peoples. She seemed disgusted by his high pay. She said the previous CEO, Tom Ryan, was given $30 million when he retired.

A blond female smiled as she passed by me. "I believe," said a man as he raised his arm in support.

A couple, a male and female, in a little white car stuck in Dupont Circle, seemed to be trying to figure out what my sign meant. Perhaps they were too far away to see the pack of cigarettes attached to my sign. When I noticed their plight, I pretended to be smoking a cigarette. Then they got it right away and both flashed thumbs-up and smiled.

Ali, the manager, came out the front door to talk on his cell phone. I said, "Hello," but he didn't respond. I think he was distracted.

Just before I left at 9:30 a.m., a guy wearing a knit cap said, "I'll look it up." Perhaps the YouTube sign hanging from my neck prompted him.

That was our 129th protest and it took place on my 70th birthday.

Day 130, CVS sells poison: Fate or coincidence?
Thursday, April 4, 2013.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) CVS/pharmacy at 7:40 a.m. It was an unseasonably cold 32 degrees F. I planted myself with my sign on the P Street side of CVS, just next to where cars are regulated by a traffic light as they approach the Circle.

I immediately got a thumbs-up from a very tall man wearing a neon yellow one-piece workman's outfit. At my back I heard a man tapping his cigarette pack hard against his palm, like he was trying to punish me or sublimate his aggression.

An SUV went by on P Street and the female driver gave a thumbs-up.

A little girl walked past with her parents and she said, "CVS, CVS, CVS." I said, "They're everywhere," to which they agreed. And that is too bad because that means that CVS is advertising, promoting, distributing, and selling cigarettes in nearly every neighborhood.

It might be hard to believe but Larry Merlo, the current CVS CEO, once managed the very CVS store where I was protesting. Fate or coincidence?

A cab stopped in the traffic; the passenger gave a thumbs-up before shooting a picture. He thanked me. A man went by and said, "I agree." I greeted a DC police officer on foot and he politely responded. Then I saw another thumbs-up.

A tall man in a dark black coat said, "You are right, you are right." Three women went by walking together and one said, "Cigarettes are no good."

Another woman said, "Hello." And a man nodded his approval. Another woman smiled in response to my sign.

At 9:10 a.m. I was happy to go home. It was still very cold outside but lots of pedestrians and occupants of cars and trucks showed their warm approval today.

Day 131, CVS sells poison: The crew cut guy and "little Larry".
Monday, April 8, 2013.

It was a sunny 57 degrees F when I arrived at the Dupont Circle (D.C.) CVS pharmacy at 7:55 a.m. The Circle was filled with cars, trucks, bicycles and horns.

A mom and her children went by me while she explained what I was doing.

A guy in a red Jeep gave me a thumbs-down and then smiled as he rolled down the window and yelled, "Everything they sell is poison." I said that I only had so much room on my sign. He laughed.

A cab driver showed great curiosity while craning his neck to get a better look at my sign. A couple (male and female) in a small white car both gave a thumbs-up. A teenage boy walking west on P Street gave a thumbs-up and with a big smile said, "I told you that." I don't know what he meant.

A female in an Odyssey van gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up. The supportive guy I mentioned on April 4th in the neon safety work vest pointed to my sign to get his co-worker's attention.

Then a tall guy in a green shirt and tie with a crew haircut entered the side door of CVS on P Street far from where I was standing. A car went by and I heard, "You're doin' a good thing." An occupant gave a thumbs-up.

A female came out the front door of CVS and said, "That's the truth," referring to the words on my sign. Ali, the manager, came out the front door.

The man with the crew haircut came out the side door and walked to where I was standing. I said, "Good morning," but got no reply. I followed him by eye as he crossed Massachusetts Avenue and then I lost him.

About 5 to 10 minutes later I saw him come back across the street accompanied by a man who looked like a miniature Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS. He had a receding hairline, dark hair, dark rimmed eyeglasses, a dark sports coat and tie. He was carrying a shoulder bag. Both he and the tall crew haircut guy were carrying coffee, probably from Starbucks on the Circle. When they landed where I was standing, I said, "Good morning," but they didn't reply. Maybe "little Larry Merlo" thought the picture on my sign was he. He did not look happy. The little guy asked if they were entering the front or side door. So, he had probably been there before for meetings. They entered and that was the last I saw of them. I'm pretty sure that I saw the crew cut guy several times at the CVS while it was being built on the corner of Connecticut and Calvert.

It was a beautiful day with lots of tourists and workers mixed together. I only saw two people smoking out of thousands. Progress? I left at about 9:30 a.m. I plan to go back tomorrow for the 132nd demonstration.

Day 132, CVS sells poison: "You need a … better sign buddy."
Tuesday, April 9, 2013.

Wow, another beautiful day. It was 55 degrees F at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:12 a.m. in the morning. Immediately, a very dapper tall man in a dark suit came up to me to ask, "Which poison?" When I said, "Cigarettes," he replied, "I agree," and moved along pulling his suitcase.

A woman driving a black Volvo station wagon smiled and gave a thumbs-up. Three teens, one with an open bag of chips asked, "What's that?" And I explained what we were doing. Two guys went by on P Street in a sports car and the one in the passenger seat with the reverse baseball cap yelled out, "You need a bigger, better sign buddy." (Nice alliteration.) I asked him to make one for me.

A guy in another sports car flashed a thumbs-up as he stood at the traffic light leading to the Circle. When I stepped away from my spot on the corner, a man entered my space and set himself up to light his cigarette. After lighting up he left without a word and I got my spot back.

A female smiled after taking in the sign. Another nodded while walking with a male partner. A female with sunglasses gave a thumbs-up as she drove by.

At 9:15 a.m. with the pedestrian traffic thinning out, I left my post for the 132nd time since May 20, 2010. I'll be back tomorrow.

Day 133, CVS sells poison: "… goin' to gas stations?"
Wednesday, April 10, 2013.

I went back to the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle at 7:44 a.m. It was a warm 69 degrees F in direct sun along P Street NW where there's a constant stream of motor vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.

"I agree," said a slight young woman in a sweater when I first arrived. A white haired woman stopped while entering CVS to ask, "What poison?" A woman smiled from her SUV and flashed a thumbs-up. Then a woman with dark, short-cropped hair stopped to ask if I had enough water. She said that it was going to get up to 90 degrees. I thanked her for her concern and told her that my 30 years in South Florida had prepared me. A man in a car stopped at the light and gave a thumbs-up.

The guy in the neon work vest came by for the third day in a row. This time he said with a smile, "When you goin' to gas stations?"

A bicyclist stopped to ask what I was doing. He knew that San Francisco had banned the sale of cigarettes in stores that contained pharmacies. I gave him a copy of one of the many letters we've sent to Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS, urging him to stop the sale of cigarettes at CVS.

When I was walking on the Dupont Circle side of CVS two employees going into a special employees-only door checked me out. Then an elderly couple in walking shorts stopped to say, "Thank you for doing that. We don't smoke anymore."

As the pedestrian and motor traffic started to lean out, I headed home at 9:20 a.m. ready for breakfast. Tomorrow, I'll be back for protest day number 134.

Day 134, CVS sells poison: The tall man.
Thursday, April 11, 2013.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle Washington D.C. CVS pharmacy at 7:41 a.m. It was 68 degrees F according to the gauge on the bank across the circle. A cabby stopped on P Street NW and flashed a quick thumbs-up along with a big smile. A neighbor from Georgetown stopped by to chat on his way to work.

A young woman in a print dress crossing P Street smiled after reading my sign.

The only negative today, a firm thumbs-down, came from a man in a black SUV who seemed to be taking great pleasure in his expression of freedom.

Then a tall man in a beige sports coat struggled with a wad of keys and cup of coffee as he tried to enter the private side door of CVS on P Street. He eventually got the door to open. I think he was going to a CVS meeting on the second floor. I decided to demonstrate in front of that door in case other CVS managers arrived.

At 8:47 a.m. a female in a beige sports coat and skirt arrived at the CVS side door with her wad of keys. She let herself in while staring at my sign. She went to the second floor on the elevator. I never saw her again.

A teenage girl on her cell phone approached to ask what I was doing. I explained briefly that CVS was licensed to be a health care company and therefore it shouldn't be selling cigarettes. She immediately said she got it. And I imagine whoever was on the other end of her call got it also. Too bad that CVS doesn't get it.

The smoke from a cigarette about 20 yards upstream drifted down to me. Strong stuff.

A runner with gray hair coming up the hill on P Street gave a supportive thumbs-up and I thanked him. The couple in shorts that I saw yesterday came by and shot me a supportive salute as they did the day before.

I completed the 134th outdoor protest at 9:28 a.m. The temperature was a comfortable 72 degrees F.

(Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, reported to the SEC that his 2012 compensation was $20.3 million dollars. Even without the profits from selling cigarettes, his compensation should satisfy his needs.)

Day 135, CVS sells poison: NEW CVS, Cigarette-free!
Thursday, April 18, 2013.

The 135th protest took place at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy in Washington, D.C., starting at 8:09 a.m. under gray skies and 61 degrees F.

It drizzled on and off. A man walked by and said, "What's up man?" as he checked out my sign. Today my sign was the Washington Post newspaper containing a CVS pharmacy ad (see above image) that stated: "To better manage chronic disease, we needed a new kind of pharmacy." Above that statement I had added, "NEW CVS Cigarette-free!

One of the female CVS employees came out to smoke. She adamantly said that it was wrong for CVS to claim to be a health care provider while continuing to sell cigarettes. I wish I had recorded her eloquent analysis. She said that some customers inside the store wanted to take a picture of my sign and me.

Two very large CVS employees stood near an employee's entrance smoking cigarettes. They later reentered the store after glancing my way. A short lady with glasses and curly hair stopped to ask what I was doing. She asked whether we were boycotting the store, and was there something she could do to help. I told her to "Google" us as she entered the store. Then I thought I should give her a copy of one of the letters we had sent to Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, with the abstract I had written about the first 1,000 days of the project on the back. When she came out she said that she had spoken to someone inside about CVS's conflicting behavior. She said that she didn't think they were going to do anything. I gave her the letter and she thanked me.

A young boy asked, "What's this?" The guy with the neon work outfit came by for the third day and said, "What's up bro-?"

A man with a hat and matching satchel went by and said, "Keep up the good work." It's always encouraging and energizing to have people show some appreciation. A runner from previous protests gave a thumbs-up and a big smile. I appreciated that also.

At 9:38 a.m. with the temperature up to 63 degrees F, I headed home with my umbrella open to protect by newspaper sign.

Day 136, CVS sells poison: No negative responses.
Friday, April 26, 2013.

Our 136th protest took place at the CVS pharmacy on 19th Street NW, just off Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. It started at 8:07 a.m. under sunny skies and cool breezes. Most of the pedestrians going by were coming off the escalator from the South Dupont Circle Metro Subway Station. A singer near the top of the escalator had a repertoire that included classical Christmas songs.

Today my sign was again the Washington Post edition containing a CVS ad (see above pic) that stated: "To better manage chronic disease, we needed a new kind of pharmacy." Above that statement I added, "NEW CVS Cigarette-free!"

An outgoing dark skinned vivacious woman approached me and repeated, " You're so right. You're so right." Then a young man came over to ask what this was all about. He got it.

Next, a lady with dark glasses and earphones stopped to ask what I was doing. She said that she was from the nearby Legacy (anti-smoking) Foundation and wanted to take my picture. Out came her smart phone and I stood still. She said that she'd inform her co-workers.

When she came out of a store along 19th Street a short time later I gave her one of the letters we'd sent to Larry Merlo, CVS CEO, in April, plus the abstract entitled: The CVS sells poison project: The first 1,000 days. She thanked me and went on her way.

A big man entering the large office building to my right looked at the sign and flashed a big smile. A woman entering the same building stopped to read the entire ad and my additions. She called out, "I agree," and gave a firm thumbs-up.

A man totally dressed in black came over to ask what I was doing. After I explained he said, "I never thought of that. What can I do to help?" Another man queried, " They don't sell them anymore?"

At 9:36 a.m. I left to protest at the CVS pharmacy on Dupont Circle. This location was in the sun and much warmer. I stayed there until 10:00 a.m.

I still haven't heard from Larry Merlo, CEO, members of the Board of Directors, or Dr. Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, regarding the list I sent of 19 benefits that CVS would receive if it stopped, advertising, promoting, distributing and selling cigarettes.

Day 137, CVS sells poison: "WHAT??"
Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

Protest day number 137 started at 7:47 a.m. on a sunny and breezy morning (51 F) at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy.

My sign was again made from the Washington Post edition containing a CVS ad that stated: "To better manage chronic disease, we needed a new kind of pharmacy." Above that statement I added, "NEW CVS Cigarette-free!"

A man coming up the hill on P Street NW gave an affirmative head nod. Then a woman with a peeked hat, backpack and sunglasses stopped to show her support. She said that she was having trouble articulating her sentiments. She eventually said that no regular stores should carry alcohol or cigarettes. These products should only be sold in stores that restricted children from entering.

Remember the worker with the neon safety vest. He came by for the fourth time, said hello and entered the front door of CVS.

Kids seem so curious, always staring at my sign. Maybe it's the YouTube sign that I wear around my neck that is really getting their attention.

Two women passed by the front door of CVS as they discussed my sign. One of the women finally said loudly, "WHAT??"

The T-shirt vendor arrived and we greeted each other. He said that he had sold one of my "Toxic-Tobacco Law" shirts. He said that he liked my "new" sign and that I was always coming up with good ideas. (CVS still hasn't stopped selling cigarettes so my ideas haven't been good enough yet.) I pointed out that in some languages the adjective comes after the noun, so that "Cigarette-free" might mean "free cigarettes" to some viewers. So some passersby probably go inside CVS and ask for the free cigarettes. Maybe a good (or bad) unintended consequence?

I left at 9:30 a.m. with the temperature at 55 degrees F.

Day 138, CVS sells poison: Dead man's head on my sign?
Thursday, May 16, 2013.

I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) CVS/pharmacy at 7:58 a.m. under cloudy skies with the temperature at 69 degrees F. Two minutes later a dark skinned woman dressed in black entered the secure side door of CVS that leads to the executive meeting area on the second floor. I decided that maybe CVS was having its weekly meeting and that I should concentrate on covering the P Street side of the building so that management could see that we were still trying to get them to stop selling cigarettes.

A female came down the hill on P Street and flashed a smile. The worker in the neon orange and yellow work jacket came by and gave his usual supportive "hello". A young girl stopped to ask what I was doing. She seemed to get it. A truck driver stopped to tell me that he heard from someone in Georgetown that the head of CVS died. I told him that I hadn't heard that, but I'd check it out. I said that if that were true, I didn't want to continue flashing a dead man's (Larry Merlo, CVS CEO) head on my sign.

Lots of kids came up the hill and it seemed like each of them stared at my sign. A man gave a positive nod. At about 9:16 a.m. the lady dressed in black and two manager types exited the side door of CVS. One of the managers was a very tall guy whom I had seen several times at the CVS on Calvert Street and Connecticut Avenue while it was under construction. He didn't respond to my hellos then and didn't seem too happy to see me now. I decided to stay close to the side door in case they returned. They never returned.

A woman in a pretty Indian dress and scarf twisted her devise (I-pad mini like) out the partially lowered back window of her cab as I stood still for a picture. Then she and her male companion flashed simultaneous thumbs-up. Another female smiled as she ascended the hill on P Street.

A man in a tailored suit started to take a picture and I stood still. Then he approached and asked what I was doing. He said that he was from Tunisia and was working on promoting his country's oil. He said that his religion, Islam, was against using tobacco and alcohol. He was very enthusiastic in pointing out that we are very much like other animals except that our brains are special and should not be poisoned by tobacco and alcohol.

Two teenage girls came running by in order to catch a ride coming across 20th Street. One dropped her pen but decided not to go back for it. I picked it up and took it to her as she sat at the light. She was very polite in thanking me for helping her.

A young lean man nodded his approval.

I found out that the story about the CVS leader dying was not true. Hence, Larry Merlo's head shot remains on my sign. I helped an elderly CVS worker get a cab because there were few available because some of the drivers were protesting changes in regulations (color and age of taxis).

At a little past 10 a.m. I headed home having completed protest number 138. On Monday, May 20, 2013 will be the Third Anniversary of these protests.

Day 139, CVS sells poison: Third Anniversary.
Monday, May 20, 2013.

For a change, I did an afternoon shift of protesting. I arrived at the 19th Street NW-Dupont Circle escalators to the Washington, D.C. Metro at 5:07 p.m. about three doors away from CVS. It was 88 degrees F. A steady stream of workers approached from the south. A mix of workers and visitors came off the escalators to my rear, just having departed from the train.

It was the Third Anniversary of our outdoor protests (protest #139). Unfortunately, this represents three years of CVS's ignoring our letters, emails, and protests.

As soon as I arrived I could hear chatter regarding CVS from three adults sitting around an outdoor restaurant table. I could see a man wearing a tie to my rear taking pictures of my sign and me. I asked him if I should turn more towards him. He completed his "shoot" and flashed a thumbs-up.

A young couple holding hands passed by me and said, "That is true," referring to the message on my sign.

A tall blond female in slacks and wearing earbuds flashed smile.

There was a constant flow of people leaving work and coming up the sidewalk. Most seemed wide-eyed as they took in my sign. It appears that workers going home are more likely to look than workers going to work are. A former neighbor of mine got off the train and we chatted briefly.

A guy at my back wearing leisure shorts yelled out, "Good for you, dude." The encouragement is always welcome.

And then a twenty something male in shorts and a baseball cap asked if there were a CVS close by. I carefully pointed out where it was, thinking that he planned to go there. Then he left with his group going in the opposite direction. I think he must have thought that I needed to follow some protesting protocol, perhaps that protesters need to be near the institution they're protesting.

I really got a look of disgust from a lady who passed me on the sidewalk while she smoked a cigarette.

A young fellow stopped to ask me what I was doing. He said that he likes to protest but had given up political protests and wanted to do something non-partisan. He asked if I had a handout, which I did. I encouraged him to email me.

At 6:04 p.m. the bank on Dupont Circle and Connecticut Avenue said it was 93 degrees F when I ended our protest having celebrated our Third Anniversary by demonstrating with my sign and "Third Anniv." attached.

Day 140, CVS sells poison: "Got surge protectors?"
Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

It was 7:40 a.m. and 73 degrees F under beautiful high puffy clouds and blue skies when I arrived at the Dupont Circle (D.C.) CVS pharmacy for the 140th outdoor protest since the CVS sells poison project began.

Six or seven kids in a pack went by with one saying, "CVS sells poison." I think they got it. A man stopped to stare at my sign. Another, dressed in a suit, responded, "Good point."

Two large fellows came up P Street and asked if CVS had surge protectors. At first I thought they were kidding. Then I thought I'd tell them about Radio Shack down Connecticut Avenue when they come out of CVS. A large female CVS employee went by me and flashed a big smile.

"They do sell surge protectors," I heard from behind me as the two large fellows, one carrying a bag, smiled as they went by me.

Ali, the CVS manager, and two helpers started to unload an SUV packed with bottled drinks. It appeared that these items had previously been on another vehicle. I heard someone say something about expiration dates.

The city worker in the neon vest said, "All right bro" to me." A cab driver looked out of his window and gave the peace sign with two fingers to me. Ali came outside of CVS to eat a sandwich right near where I was situated. He didn't say a word to me.

A woman pulling her suitcase on wheels up P Street next to CVS said, "Yes they do." A lady with short hair stared at my sign as she entered CVS. When she exited she came over to me and asked if I meant that only Newports and Marlboro (the packs attached to my sign) were poisonous. I assured her and she simultaneously chimed in indicating that I meant "all cigarettes" were poisonous. She said that she was now a chain smoker and wanted to quit badly. She said that she was under a lot of stress partly because she had started a new job. I encouraged her efforts to quit. She said that she worked close by. I said that I would see her again.

A young female smiled. A male teen with an Afro said, "Amen," when he read my sign. Speaking of hair, a very young female talking on her cell phone said she was going to have "20 inch bangs" next week. A fellow wearing a backpack and baseball cap gave a thumbs-up after reading my sign.

At 9:15 a.m. with the temperature 78 degrees F and rising quickly and very hot in the sun, I headed for home. I didn't see any CVS managers except for Ali and one of his assistants today but I did see lots of kids and a constant stream of adults.

I've attached a letter we sent to CEO Larry Merlo and the CVS Board of Directors urging them to take advantage of the benefits that would accrue to CVS if it stopped selling cigarettes. We have not heard a response yet.

Day 141, CVS sells poison: "Good luck."
Thursday, June 20, 2013.

It was a beautiful, blue skied morning at 7:18 a.m. and 67 degrees F when I arrived at the Dupont Circle (Washington, D.C.) CVS pharmacy. The first two women I saw were smoking, one in a work uniform. At this hour there were a lot of runners coming from all directions and focused on getting their morning exercise.

Next, a large delivery truck crunched the side of a Mercedes sports car as both were trying to turn right into the circle. Fortunately no one was injured.

The worker in the neon work clothes waved as he exited the front door of CVS. "Good morning," said a silver haired woman. "Cigarettes," exclaimed two women walking in front of me.

Then a short, slight lady with a backpack stopped to methodically find out what I was doing. She wanted to know exactly what had happened so far in our attempt to get CVS to stop selling cigarettes. I gave her one of our handouts. She closed with, "Good luck, good luck." She said that she thought CVS would finally comply with our wishes.

A van stopped at the traffic light and the driver gave a double thumbs-up. At the same time a guy yelled out his truck that we should be doing something about the IRS. That's D.C. for you.

I saw a CVS manager enter the side door that goes up to CVS offices.

A panhandler arrived and said that he's seen me for years at this CVS. I said that it sure seems like a lot of years. Then a guy rolling lots of luggage stopped for a lengthy time to say that the toxic-tobacco industry and that includes CVS have gotten away with murder by knowingly selling a poisonous product. He said that if we had done what they have done and are doing, we'd be indicted for murder. He was emphatic and articulate. A lady stopped while he was talking in order to ask about our efforts. She understood right away. A man passed and gave a positive nod.

At 9:12 a.m. it was 72 degrees F and still pretty comfortable. I headed home thinking about what should take place at the 142nd protest coming up soon.

Day 142, CVS sells poison: "Do you really think CVS will stop selling cigarettes?"
Wednesday, June 27, 2013.

After having forgotten my YouTube sign that goes around my neck and having to go back for it, I finally arrived at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 8:15 a.m. with the temperature already a steamy 76 degrees F. My first duty, giving directions to the subway to a middle aged couple. Then I got an indignant question, "Why pick on CVS?" from a lady wearing braids. She said, "I got it," when I finally said that CVS was a licensed health care provider.

Then a guy who was hanging around the CVS store told me that I'd probably get sued for changing the ad that CVS placed in the Washington Post touting its "new kind of pharmacy." I added the words NEW CVS, cigarette-free! to the ad.

A woman stopped to say that she'd seen me a number of times demonstrating at CVS. She asked, "Do you really think CVS will stop selling cigarettes?" I took a long time before I answered, but finally said, "It's a hard sell. They just don't care." She said that my efforts were a good reminder to people that cigarettes were bad. We talked about some of the unexpected consequences of our protest, one being all the conversations about smoking between parents and children after the children asked their parents what the man was doing carrying a sign in front of CVS. The inquisitive woman in glasses asked if she could take a picture of my sign and me. She took a picture.

While standing on the circle side of CVS a workman in a white shirt with lots of keys attached to his belt came to me. He talked about the fact that his father died of lung cancer. He and his brothers all stopped smoking although he still sometimes smokes in bars.

When I went around to the P Street side of CVS I saw a large woman in a flowered dress smoking while holding a printed sheet of paper or pad. Later, I saw her stop as she was entering CVS and stare at my sign, the one with the NEW CVS, cigarette-free! on it. She smiled as she held the door open. I waved to her but she just kept smiling. Then she went into the store. I believe that she worked for CVS and maybe she was taking inventory.

It was extremely hot in the sun although it was just 80 degrees F in the shade when I headed home at 9:30 a.m. after seeing a constant stream of people heading to work and tourists starting their day. On my way home I ran into the daughter of one of my friends who asked about the YouTube sign around my neck. She was very interested in the CVS sells poison project and said that she would spread the word on Facebook.

Day 143, CVS sells poison: "Ladies, keep your hair nice."
Wednesday, July 10, 2013.

I arrived on foot at the Dupont Circle CVS pharmacy at 7:41 a.m. under overcast skies. The temperature was 78 degrees F. A young woman opened the CVS door on P Street that leads to the CVS offices on the second floor. Another woman smiled at me from a car on P Street as she finished reading our sign that said: NEW CVS, Cigarette-free!

A bald man wearing walking shorts came out of CVS and began vigorously tapping his new pack of cigarettes against his palm. He saw me watching. Then a man with backpacks and sleeping bag stopped to give me a lecture about the "morning after" pill and abortions. He said that he smoked. He said that the government should ban the sale of cigarettes period.

A guy wearing a tie and light brown slacks stopped on his way out of CVS to ask about our efforts. He said, "What you're doing is a good idea." Shortly thereafter a woman with braids said, "It don't make sense [what CVS is doing]," after I explained our goal. "I get it," she replied.

Then I gave some directions to a happy traveler. At 8:39 a.m. I moved to the southern Metro escalator at Dupont Circle where hundreds and hundreds of workers spilled onto the 19th Street and Connecticut Avenue sidewalks every day. For the first time I stood about 20 feet from the top of the escalator. Most of the people coming off the escalator couldn't avoid seeing my sign.

At about 8:56 a.m. it began to lightly rain. So, I moved under a covered opening just outside of Krispy Kreme Donuts. A man guiding his dismounted bike in front of me said, "I like it," referring to my sign. Another pedestrian with a backpack stopped and read my sign.

A man with a bucket of umbrellas took over my former space and yelled, "Five dollar umbrellas; ladies keep your hair nice."

I headed home at 9:30 a.m. since I had lost my excellent spot near the top of the escalators and it was still raining. The next demonstration will be the 144th or 12 squared. What can we do that is different this time? This is the first time I've been rained on since the protests began.


Toxic-Tobacco Law 1 (the Bill)

11Xth CONGRESS

1st (or 2nd) Session

S. XXXX

To protect the public health by (1) making it illegal for corporations and other legal entities operating in the United States to manufacture, market, sell, or import cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, and cigarette tobacco for commercial trade, (2) providing to all stakeholders (e.g., farmers) an adjustment period of five years between the date of passage and date of implementation of this Act, while (3) allowing adult consumers 21 years of age and older to buy, make, import, possess and use toxic-tobacco products for their personal use.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

Month/Day/Year

Mr., Ms. (sponsors names) introduced the following bill, which was read once and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To protect the public health by making it illegal for corporations and other legal entities operating in the United States to manufacture, market, sell, or import for commercial trade all toxic-tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, and cigarette tobacco.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled.


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the 'Toxic-Tobacco Law'.

(b) TABLE OF CONTENTS- the table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Section 1. Short title; table of contents.

Section 2. Findings.

Section 3. Purpose.

Section 4. Scope and effect.

Section 5. American Indians/Alaskan Natives.

Section 6. Severability.

Section 7. Definitions.

Section 8. References.

Section 9. Summary.


SECTION 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress finds the following:

(1) Every Surgeon General�s Report on Smoking and Health presented to Congress since the first one in 19649 has documented the deleterious effects of using toxic-tobacco on human health.

(2) Toxic-tobacco use, primarily cigarette smoking, is the number one preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.

(3) A consensus exists within the scientific and medical communities that toxic-tobacco products are inherently dangerous and cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, complications of pregnancy, and other serious adverse health effects.

(4) Despite acknowledging the lethality of its products, the toxic-tobacco industry continues to produce and aggressively promote products that cause over 450,000 deaths each year in the United States alone, more than the combined effects of alcohol, car accidents, suicides, AIDS, homicides and illegal drugs.

(5) The for-profit toxic-tobacco industry in the United States is also responsible for over 8,600,000 Americans suffering with chronic debilitating lung and circulatory diseases.

(6) Significant efforts have been made in the United States to reduce the negative health effects of toxic-tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco).

(7) Strategies, such as banning advertising of toxic-tobacco products, have been hampered because toxic-tobacco products are produced legally and therefore have been protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.4,5

(8) Because toxic-tobacco products are legally produced they can be marketed and sold at hundreds of thousands of retail outlets, making them highly attractive and accessible to children and adults.

(9) Historically, the Congress of the United States has conferred a privileged legal status on the toxic-tobacco industry, for example, by exempting its products from the Consumer Product Safety Act,6 federal legislation that was enacted "to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products."7

(10) Because toxic-tobacco corporations are legal businesses, they have been able to spend their enormous financial resources for years on using the Congress, Constitution, courts, regulatory agencies, and state legislators to help them resist governmental regulation.

(11) An ethical dilemma exists because the United States permits manufacturers to make toxic-tobacco products that are known to cause death and disability,1 and contain an addictive drug, nicotine.8

(12) If a new product were introduced today that was clearly both as addictive and deadly as toxic-tobacco products, the Federal Government would not sanction its production, promotion, or importation.

(13) Precedents exist for the Federal Government�s role in regulating manufacturers of dangerous consumer products. For example, manufacturers of gasoline and paint are restricted from adding lead to their products,11,12 an element that causes a very small fraction of the morbidity caused by legally produced, unregulated toxic-tobacco products.13

(14) Federal law restricts toxins like nicotine in insecticides to minuscule quantities (1-2 ppm) on fruits, vegetables, eggs, meat and poultry,14 yet toxic-tobacco products may contain any amount of nicotine.

(15) Federal law regulates carbon monoxide as an emission from cars,15 but not as a combustion product in cigarette smoke.

(16) In nine countries, bans on the sale or importation of some toxic-tobacco products already exist.16

(17) Passing this Law would mean that the United States would no longer tolerate corporations that profit from making products that cause death and disability when used as intended.


SECTION 3. PURPOSE.

(1) Reduce the enormous physical, psychological and economic harm caused by toxic-tobacco products that are manufactured, aggressively promoted and sold by the toxic-tobacco industry.

(2) Eliminate the 450,000 deaths caused every year by toxic-tobacco products in the United States.

(3) Lesson the pain and suffering from chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease incurred by the direct victims of toxic-tobacco products (currently 8,600,000 chronically ill) and their families and friends.

(4) Reduce the medical costs of treating the diseases caused by toxic-tobacco products, $75.5 billion per year.

(5) Reduce the cost from lost productivity caused by toxic-tobacco products, $81.9 billion per year.

(6) Eliminate all advertising and promotional marketing of toxic-tobacco products.

(7) Reduce the number of adults and children who start using toxic-tobacco products.

(8) Decrease the prevalence of toxic-tobacco use in adults and children.

(9) End the ubiquitous nature of toxic-tobacco in American society.



SECTION 4. SCOPE AND EFFECT.

INTENDED EFFECT- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to

(a) establish a precedent with regard to any other industry, situation or legal action or

(b) affect any action pending in Federal, State or Tribal court, or any agreement, consent decree, or contract of any kind or

(c) preempt stricter or more inclusive Laws passed by the States, Territories, Counties, Cities or other legal jurisdictions. For example, a State may pass a law that requires buyers of toxic-tobacco products be older than 21.

This Act prohibits corporations and other legal entities operating in the United States from manufacturing, marketing, selling, or importing for commercial trade all toxic-tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipe tobacco, and cigarette tobacco.

This Act will go into effect five years after enactment in order to provide all stakeholders (e.g., farmers) with an adjustment period.

This Act permits adult consumers to buy, make, import, possess and use toxic-tobacco products for their personal use.

This Act sets the purchasing age for all toxic-tobacco products at 21 years.

The Federal Government will tax all toxic-tobacco products imported by individual consumers.

Only unbranded, fire-safe (self-extinguishing paper) toxic-tobacco products, identified by a 2-digit code number, may be imported into the United States by individual consumers.

All packages of imported toxic-tobacco products must be covered (90%) by graphic, empirically based effective warnings of the diseases caused by the use of toxic-tobacco.

All cans and packs must be "oversized" so that they do not conveniently fit into shirt and pants pockets.

Tax revenues from imported toxic-tobacco products may only be used for prevention and cessation programs to reduce the use of toxic-tobacco products.

The Toxic-Tobacco Law will end all manufacturing and marketing of toxic-tobacco products and thus stop their widespread availability to children and adults at grocery, convenience, and drug stores, gasoline stations and vending machines.

There will be no advertising of toxic-tobacco products aimed at youth, young adult or adult markets in magazines such as Sports Illustrated or others.

Toxic-tobacco will no longer be ubiquitously entrenched in American society. Therefore, the advertising and retail milieu, devoid of toxic-tobacco products, will become an environment more conducive to quitting toxic-tobacco than the current one.

By removing all marketing of toxic-tobacco products and greatly reducing youth access, the Toxic-Tobacco Law will lead to lower rates of use among children.

Since use by peers strongly contributes to whether or not children experiment with toxic-tobacco,2 the reduced availability of these products will diminish the impact of peer pressure on the initiation of toxic-tobacco use. Less peer pressure will result in fewer new consumers to replace those who have quit using toxic-tobacco or died from its effects.

From a public health policy perspective, the Toxic-Tobacco Law�s effect on reducing the number of "replacement users" will, in time, substantially reduce the incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, complications of pregnancy and home and commercial fires.

When the Toxic-Tobacco Law goes into effect, the "black market"10 for cigarettes, as currently constituted, will end.

The "black market" is now fueled by the great disparity among cigarette excise taxes that makes smuggling from states with low rates to states with high rates a lucrative illegal business. This condition will cease when the Law becomes effective because there no longer will be domestic toxic-tobacco products to tax.

There is no compelling reason to expect a new "black market" aimed at adults after the Law is passed because adults will be "free" to use toxic-tobacco products and buy them from their usual sources for five years. When the Law goes into effect, consumers will be "free" to import toxic-tobacco products for personal use and be "free" to use products that they have stored.

It is very unlikely that smuggled toxic-tobacco would become a substantial source, given the enormous amount of product that would have to come across the borders of the United States undetected to satisfy millions of adult users.

Why would foreign manufacturers and exporters of toxic-tobacco products, potentially the only large-scale sources for a "black market," risk supplying contraband that could be confiscated, when they can legally and profitably export to American consumers?

After the Law becomes effective, the federal government must monitor for any untoward effects caused by large numbers of individual consumers� importing toxic-tobacco products. If problems arise with this method of supply, other methods will need to be considered, such as using "federal stores" supplied by products manufactured outside the United States or in factories taken over by the United States using its power of eminent domain.

To counter the possibility of a "black market" targeting minors, the United States must make agreements with supplier nations, requiring full documentation of all production and shipments of toxic-tobacco products.

In 1964 the Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service on Smoking and Health concluded, "cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action."9 The Toxic-Tobacco Law is that "appropriate remedial action."

Discussion: Black markets.
As part of the debate on the proposed Toxic-Tobacco Law, those who argue that the Law would create a "black market" need to explain: a) why there would be a demand for "black market" products, b) where the products would come from, c) how they would cross borders undetected, d) what the societal costs of a "black market" would be vis-à-vis those of not passing the Law, and e) why they believe the United States is incapable of implementing creative solutions?

Discussion: Invasion of our global neighbors.
One undesirable consequence of the Law will be further efforts by the toxic-tobacco corporations to move their United States operations overseas to continue their invasion of our global neighbors. To counter this movement, our international neighbors may decide to pass legislation similar to the proposed Toxic-Tobacco Law. Similar legislation has been proposed in the Philippines (late Dr. Monfert) and South Korea (Dr. Park).

Discussion: Adjustment period.
The proposed 5-year adjustment period will give federal, state, and local governments sufficient time to plan for the loss of excise and sales tax revenues from domestic toxic-tobacco products. These revenues will, in part, be replaced by taxes on goods and services purchased with dollars no longer being spent on toxic-tobacco products, that is, "redistributed spending."17 These dollars will be spent by persons who quit using toxic-tobacco products, or never started to use them because they were affected by the "new environment" that the Law created � a milieu without advertising, marketing, or the ubiquitous venues for the sale of toxic-tobacco.

Managers of pension funds and others who invest in the toxic-tobacco industry will have sufficient time to restructure their portfolios. The adjustment period will also permit time for the resolution of a wide range of legal suits against the toxic-tobacco industry18 and for the states to collect a portion of the money stipulated in their 1998 settlement with the toxic-tobacco industry.19

Discussion. Farmers of toxic-tobacco.
Because the proposed adjustment period is five years, some older farmers of toxic-tobacco may be retired or near retirement age when the Law goes into effect. Eighty-five percent of Maryland's toxic-tobacco farmers accepted a buyout from their state and are no longer farming this crop.20 The federal government has also implemented a buyout of toxic-tobacco quotas supported by the major toxic-tobacco growing states.21 Since the toxic-tobacco industry began importing greater amounts of foreign toxic-tobacco, fewer and fewer farms have been operational. Younger farmers of toxic-tobacco, or those considering this occupation, will know with five years "warning" that the domestic market for their crop will end.

The proposed 5-year adjustment period is also intended to allay any fear by addicted consumers that their current sources of toxic-tobacco will change in the near future. The nearly 50 million Americans who are addicted to toxic-tobacco products22 will have five years to a) buy from their usual sources, b) find foreign sources from whom they can legally import them after the adjustment period, or c) end their use of toxic-tobacco products.

Lastly, there are many precedents for adjustment periods before federal regulations are implemented. For example, the prohibition on leaded gasoline for highway use was enacted in late 1990, but did not become effective for five years.23 Also, the Food and Drug Administration�s 1996 regulation prohibiting brand name sponsorship of sporting events, such as the Marlboro Grand Prix, stipulated an effective date in 1998.24 Similarly, France�s ban of all toxic-tobacco advertising and sponsorship provided for a two year period "in order to allow time for various sectors of society to adjust to the restrictions".16

Discussion: Problems with the 5-year adjustment period.
The proposed 5-year interval between passage of the Toxic-Tobacco Law and its implementation may create several problems. First, and most challenging, is the possibility that during this period approximately 3-4 million American children could become addicted to toxic-tobacco,25 and as a result, millions of them would succumb to cancer or diseases of the cardiovascular system or lung. Therefore, during this interval primary prevention efforts and cessation programs must be vigorously pursued. Second, the interval may make it more difficult to pass the Law because some members of Congress may not anticipate any rewards for their efforts in passing a Law, the benefits of which appear to be far in the future. Third, the interval gives the toxic-tobacco industry many years to lobby for repeal of the Law.

Discussion: Comparing the Toxic-Tobacco Law to Prohibition
Because the Toxic-Tobacco Law would ban the making and selling of a product as did Prohibition, it is reasonable to ask how the Law differs from Prohibition (18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution), which was repealed. Foremost, the Toxic-Tobacco Law does not seek to restrict adults from using toxic-tobacco, whereas Prohibition sought to stop Americans from consuming alcoholic beverages by banning their manufacture and sale. The purpose of the Toxic-Tobacco Law is to end the massive presence of toxic-tobacco products in American society, denormalize the use of toxic-tobacco, reduce youth access and addiction, and ultimately decrease morbidity and mortality.

The Toxic-Tobacco Law is singularly focused on improving the health of Americans by preventing and ending the addiction of children and adults, whereas health, moral, and economic arguments were used to pass the 18th Amendment, from Carry Nation�s passionate belief that alcohol "rots the brain, body and soul"26 to the Eastern United States industrialists� fear that alcohol threatened their pool of reliable workers.27 Nearly fourteen years after passage, the 18th Amendment was repealed because the law was violated widely, crime and corruption abounded, the country was reeling in an economic depression, and fear arose that the authority of the states and the Constitution was deteriorating.28

The era in which Prohibition was rejected and the era in which the Toxic-Tobacco Law is being proposed are very different. Prohibition was attempted at a time when the majority (>60%) of male adults were consumers of alcohol.28 Today, approximately 20% of adult Americans regularly smoke toxic-tobacco and 70% of them state they want to quit. Furthermore, 46 million adults have quit smoking, 50% of those who have ever smoked.22 During Prohibition members of all educational-economic levels consumed alcohol;28 today, the prevalence of toxic-tobacco use is inversely related to educational-economic level.22 (Interestingly, a recent poll indicated that 45% of Americans favor making cigarettes illegal, Stein, R. Drop in smoking rates stalls, The Washington Post, Oct.27, 2006:A10. This is not the intent of the Toxic-Tobacco Law)

The industries most affected by Prohibition were manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, and transportation. The Toxic-Tobacco Law would also affect these industries, but this time they will have the advantage of a 5-year adjustment period in which to increase their services to legitimate businesses, compared to a 1-year adjustment period prior to Prohibition.

Similar to Prohibition, the Toxic-Tobacco Law will result in decreased federal, state and local revenues from excise and sales taxes. Lost tax revenues under the Law, however, are expected to be replaced by taxes on other goods and services purchased with dollars no longer being spent on toxic-tobacco products (i.e., "redistributed spending"17). Redistributed spending will also stimulate the manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and transportation industries. During Prohibition "redistributed spending" did not occur because consumers bought illegally produced alcoholic beverages.

Finally, in the 1920s legislation comparable to Prohibition did not exist, whereas today federal regulations over toxic substances exist. Beginning in 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started regulating toxic materials to protect American workers and consumers.29 For instance, there are regulations that prohibit the manufacturing of products containing carcinogens such as asbestos.30

Outlawing corporate manufacturing and importation, while not prohibiting use by adults, that is, affecting individual freedom, clearly distinguishes the intent of the proposed Toxic-Tobacco Law from that of Prohibition.

Discussion: Alternative legal remedies
Several legal strategies might halt the massive production, marketing and distribution of toxic-tobacco products in the United States. For instance, legislators in states where toxic-tobacco companies are incorporated could rescind the charters of companies that knowingly misrepresented their products.31 Also, state attorneys general could revoke the charters of toxic-tobacco companies if there is evidence that these companies engaged in unlawful activity.32 However, even if toxic-tobacco corporations lose their corporate status, there is no assurance that other states would not welcome them. Therefore, to ensure a successful end to the production of toxic-tobacco products in the United States, a national law is needed.

One option at the national level is for Congress to amend the Consumer Product Safety Act of 19727 to include "toxic-tobacco and toxic-tobacco products," items that had been previously purposefully excluded.6 Then, the Consumer Product Safety Commission would have the authority to declare that toxic-tobacco products are "banned hazardous product(s)."33 Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the Commission would ban toxic-tobacco products after being given this authority.

Under the "commerce clause" of the U.S. Constitution,34 Congress has the authority to directly regulate industry. Therefore, Congress, knowing that toxic-tobacco products are lethal1 and addictive,8 has the leadership responsibility to ban their production and importation, that is, to pass the proposed Toxic-Tobacco Law.

During the process of drafting a bill for the Toxic-Tobacco Law, members of Congress will need to debate the following issues: a) length of the adjustment period (e.g., 5, 10, 20 years), b) merits of requiring a gradual reduction in production, c) maximum amount of toxic-tobacco products that each consumer may import per year, d) how foreign exporters will verify the age of buyers who mail order or use e-commerce, e) enforcement agencies, f) penalties for breaking the Law, and g) whether "federal" stores similar to state liquor stores might be needed to supply adult users after the Law goes into effect.


SECTION 5. AMERICAN INDIANS/ALASKAN NATIVES.

No part of this Act will affect the sovereignty of American Indian or Alaskan Native tribes and their right to manufacture and sell toxic-tobacco products on their reservations. Persons residing off reservations may buy or import toxic-tobacco products from American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes.

Discussion: Will the Congress need to limit the amount of products "off reservation folks" can buy at one time to discourage resale in their communities. Although the desire is not to infringe upon the sovereignty of the tribes, there is great concern for the health of all citizens. The legislation should not encourage tribes to expand their business.


SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY.

If any provision of this Act or application of any provision of this Act to any person or circumstance is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the application of the provisions of this Act to any other person or circumstance shall not be affected and shall continue to be enforced to the fullest extent possible.


SECTION 7. DEFINITIONS.

TOXIC-TOBACCO PRODUCT- means any product made or derived from toxic-tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a toxic-tobacco product (except for raw materials other than toxic-tobacco used in manufacturing a component, part, or accessory of a toxic-tobacco product).

BRAND- means a variety of toxic-tobacco product distinguished by the toxic-tobacco used, tar content, nicotine content, flavoring used, size, filtration, or packaging, logo, registered trademark or brand name, identifiable pattern of colors, or any combination of such attributes. With this Act, all branding of toxic-tobacco products will cease to exist.

CIGARETTE- The term `cigarette' has the meaning given that term by section 3(1) of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (15 U.S.C. 1332(1)), but also includes toxic-tobacco, in any form, that is functional in the product, which, because of its appearance, the type of toxic-tobacco used in the filler, or its packaging and labeling, is likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as a cigarette or as roll-your-own toxic-tobacco.

CIGARETTE TOXIC-TOBACCO- The term `cigarette toxic-tobacco' means any product that consists of loose toxic-tobacco that is intended for use by consumers in a cigarette. Unless otherwise stated, the requirements for cigarettes shall also apply to cigarette toxic-tobacco.

COMMERCE- The term `commerce' has the meaning given that term by section 3(2) of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (15 U.S.C. 1332(2)).

LITTLE CIGAR- The term `little cigar' has the meaning given that term by section 3(7) of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act (15 U.S.C. 1332(7)).

NICOTINE- The term `nicotine' means the chemical substance named 3-(1-Methyl-2-pyrrolidinyl) pyridine or C[10]H[14]N[2], including any salt or complex of nicotine.

PACKAGE- The term `package' means a pack, box, carton, or container of any kind or, if no other container, any wrapping (including cellophane), in which a toxic-tobacco product is offered for sale, sold, or otherwise distributed to consumers.

RETAILER- The term `retailer' means any person who sells toxic-tobacco products to individuals for personal consumption, or who operates a facility where self-service displays of toxic-tobacco products are permitted.

SMOKELESS TOXIC-TOBACO- The term `smokeless toxic-tobacco' means any toxic-tobacco product that consists of cut, ground, powdered, or leaf toxic-tobacco and that is intended to be placed in the oral or nasal cavity.

STATE- The term `State' means any State of the United States and, for purposes of this bill, includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, Johnston Atoll, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other trust territory or possession of the United States. The term does not include American Indian or Alaskan Native reservations.

TOXIC-TOBACCO PRODUCTS- refers to cigarettes, cigars, little cigars (cigarillos) chewing toxic-tobacco, snuff, pipe and cigarette toxic-tobacco.

TOXIC-TOBACCO PRODUCT MANUFACTURER- Term `toxic-tobacco product manufacturer' means any person, including any repacker or relabeler, who--

(A) manufactures, fabricates, assembles, processes, or labels a toxic-tobacco product; or

(B) imports a finished cigarette or smokeless toxic-tobacco product for sale or distribution in the United States.

UNITED STATES- The term "United States" means the 50 States of the United States of America and the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, Johnston Atoll, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other trust territory or possession of the United States.


SECTION 8. REFERENCES.

1. USDHHS. Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking: 25 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 89-8411, 1989, 383-434.

2. USDHHS. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, S/N 017-001-00491-0, 1994, 248-56.

3. USDHHS. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking. A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 87-8398, 1986, 263-334.

4. Chandrasekaran, R. "FDA�s tobacco ad rules face lengthy court challenge," The Washington Post, Aug. 24, 1996:A9.

5. Blatt, R. "Curbing ads won�t work and it�s unconstitutional," The Washington Post, Sept. 8, 1996:C3.

6. Committee on Commerce. Senate Report 92-835 on the Consumer Product Safety Act (Public Law 92-573), 1972.

7. 15 USC 2051. Public Law 92-573; 86 Statute 1207, 92nd Congress, Oct. 27, 1972.

8. USDHHS. The Health Consequences of Smoking. Nicotine Addiction. A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, DHHS Publication No. (CDC) 88-8406, 1988.

9. USDHEW. Smoking and Health. Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, PHS Publication No. 1103, 1964, 33.

10. Linquest, Avery, Macdonald, Baskerville, Inc. "Cigarette smuggling in the United States," Aug. 15, 1994.

11. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Code of Federal Regulations. Protection of Environment, 40, parts 72-80. Revised July 1, 1996. Washington DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1996, part 80.22.

12. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Code of Federal Regulations. Commercial Practices, 16, parts 1000 to End. Revised Jan. 1, 1996. Washington DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1996, part 1303.

13. MMWR. "Cigarette smoking-attributable mortality and years of potential life lost- United States, 1990," Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 42 (1993): 645-9.

14. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Code of Federal Regulations. Protection of Environment, 40, parts 150 to 189. Revised July 1, 1997. Washington DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1997, parts 180.167, 180.167a.

15. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Code of Federal Regulations. Protection of Environment, 40, parts 81-85. Revised July 1, 1996. Washington DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1996, part 85.2203.

16. Roemer, R. Legislative Action to Combat the World Tobacco Epidemic, 2nd Edition. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1993.

17. Warner, K.E., and Fulton, G.A. "The economic implications of tobacco product sales in a nontobacco state," JAMA. 271 (1994): 771-6.

18. Glanz, S.A., Fox, B.J., and Lightwood, J.M. "Tobacco litigation: issue for public health and public policy," JAMA. 277 (1997): 751-3.

19. Superville, D. "States�tobacco lawsuits settled for $206 billion," The Miami Herald, Nov. 17, 1998:A12.

20. McCaffrey, R. Tobacco leaves, blowing past. The Washington Post, Jan. 9, 2004:

21. Pearlstein, S. Buyout alchemy: Tobacco land into gold. The Washington Post, Oct. 22, 2006:E1.

22. MMWR. "Cigarette smoking among adults-United States, 1993," Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 43 (1994): 925-30.

23. 42 USC 7545 (n). Public Law 101-549, Section 220, 101st Congress, Nov. 15, 1990.

24. Barr, S., and Hamilton, M.M. "Clinton curtails tobacco ads in bid to cut sales to youth," The Washington Post, Aug. 24, 1996:A1, 6.

25. Pierce, J.P., Fiore, M.C., Novotny, T.E., Hatziandreu, E. J., and Davis, R.M. "Trends in cigarette smoking in the United States-Projections to the Year 2000," JAMA. 261 (1989): 61-5.

26. Nation, C.A. The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation. Topeka, Kansas: F.M. Steves and Sons, 1905.7. Rumbarger, J.J. Profits, Power, and Prohibition: Alcohol Reform and the Industrialization of America 1800-1930. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.

28. Kyvig, D.E. Repealing National Prohibition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

29. U.S. Govt. Manual. Washington DC: U.S. Superintendent of Documents, 1995, 394, 523.

30. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. Code of Federal Regulations. Protection of Environment, 40, parts 700-789. Revised July 1, 1995. Washington DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1995, part 763.160.

31. Nader, R., Green, M. and Seligman, J. Taming the Giant Corporation. New York: WW Norton and Company Inc., 1976.

32. Merritt, R.W., and Ennico, C.R., eds. Corporate Practice Handbook. New York: New York State Bar Association, 1992.

33. 15 USC 2051 sec 30 (a). Public Law 92-573; 86 Statute 1207, 92nd Congress, Oct. 27, 1972.

34. Woll, P., and Binstock, R.H. America�s Political System. New York: Random House, 1984.


SECTION 9. ABSTRACT.

Toxic-tobacco products, despite being lethal and addictive, are highly attractive and accessible to children and adults at hundreds of thousands of retail outlets. The proposed Toxic-Tobacco Law (Law) will end this access by prohibiting corporations and other legal entities from making, marketing, or importing toxic-tobacco products. The Law will go into effect five years after enactment, giving all stakeholders (e.g., farmers) time to adjust. After this adjustment period, adults will be "free" to import toxic-tobacco products for personal use. Unlike Prohibition, which sought to stop Americans from consuming alcohol, the Toxic-Tobacco Law does not seek to restrict consumption by adults. The purpose of the Law is to end the massive presence of toxic-tobacco products in American society in order to prevent the addiction of children and adults to toxic-tobacco and its devastating health consequences (e.g., lung cancer). The U.S. Congress, under the "commerce clause" of the Constitution, has the authority to pass the Toxic-Tobacco Law.


Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition: 2006 Annual Report

  1. Drafted the Toxic-Tobacco Bill (version 2.0) for the United States House of Representatives and the Senate with this preamble: To protect the public health by (1) banning for-profit corporations from making, promoting, selling or importing all toxic-tobacco products in the United States and territories subject to its jurisdiction, (2) creating the Toxic-Tobacco Authority to manufacture and sell all toxic-tobacco, and (3) authorizing the Authority to end all promotional marketing of toxic-tobacco products, raise the purchasing age to 25(current recommendation 21), reduce youth access to toxic-tobacco products, reduce the attractiveness and addictiveness of products, fund and promote prevention and cessation programs, and implement a national smoke-free air regulation. Colleagues soon will be asked for their contributions and suggestions to improve the Bill. (Please see www.toxic-tobaccolaw.org)
  2. Completed a 2-page excerpt of the Toxic-Tobacco Law, used as a handout at the 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, July 12-15, 2006.
  3. Revised and updated the "Summary of Endgames for Toxic-Tobacco: 1997-2006" and sent it to colleagues. A particularly noteworthy addition was that the 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, the most influential international toxic-tobacco control meeting, elevated "endgames" for the first time to the highest level of prominence � a general Plenary Session.
  4. Completed the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition's 2005 Executive Summary and sent it to colleagues worldwide.
  5. In 2006 our website, www.toxic-tobaccolaw.org, received 1,527 unique visitors per month (mean), an increase of 23.6% over 2005. The total number of visitors for 2006 was 18,324.
  6. Completed the second year of posting our OnLine Petition at our website. The petition urges Congress to pass the Toxic-Tobacco Law. Continued to explore strategies to increase the number of OnLine Petition signers to reach our goal of 1,000,000 signatures.
  7. Attended the National Institutes of Health (NIH) State of the Science Meeting on Toxic-Tobacco.
  8. Communicated with Drs. Park (South Korea) and Zatonski (Poland) who started the Tobacco Free World Alliance. The Alliance proposes that national governments ban the manufacture and sale of tobacco products in 10-15 years. Dr. Park and others have written a 542 page book entitled Banning the manufacture and sale of tobacco products: The problems and answers (2006). Continued written communications with Drs. Koop, Seffrin, Malone, Park, and Zatonski and Ms. Callard and Mr. Dave Thompson regarding "endgames" for toxic-tobacco.
  9. Invited colleagues to participate in a new discussion group on "endgames" for toxic-tobacco initiated by Mr. Dave Thompson at ti-reform@globalink.org
  10. Assisted the University of Miami in its process of reviewing its policy regarding taking research funding from toxic-tobacco companies.
  11. Attended Dr. C. Everett Koop's 90th birthday celebration at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC. We are grateful to Dr. Koop for the attention he has given to the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition and his encouragement.
  12. Recognized and thanked Dr. Steve Hansen for creating a resolution for consideration by the American Medical Association House of Delegates related to removing the profit motive from the toxic-tobacco industry.
  13. Reread Curing the Addiction to Profits: A supply-side approach to phasing out tobacco by Callard, Thompson and Collishaw, which we recommend to all of our colleagues. This book outlines practical mechanisms for implementing the Toxic-Tobacco Law.

    Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition: 2005 Annual Report

    This Executive Summary outlines the progress made by the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition and its volunteers during 2005.

    1. Drafted the first version of the Toxic-Tobacco Bill (Law) for the United States House of Representatives and Senate. During 2006, colleagues will be asked for their suggestions to improve the Bill.
    2. Added the following provisions to the Toxic-Tobacco Law: (a) limit the sale of toxic-tobacco products to adults 21 years of age and older, (b) require that all public buildings and worksites be smoke-free and (c) shorten the adjustment period between passing and implementing the Toxic-Tobacco Law from the initial proposal of 20 years.
    3. Studied Cynthia Callard, Dave Thomson and Neil Collishaw's new book: Curing the Addition to Profits: A supply-side approach to phasing out tobacco. The book compellingly argues that regardless of the restrictions governments introduce, toxic-tobacco companies will try to increase sales and thus profits. The profit motive is diametrically opposed to the public health goal of reducing the harm caused by toxic-tobacco. Therefore, Canada should purchase for-profit toxic-tobacco companies and turn them into a not-for-profit public interest corporation whose goal is to reduce the harm caused by toxic-tobacco.
    4. Publicized the above book by Callard et al. on our website and through e-mails to colleagues because it contains strategies for implementing the Toxic-Tobacco Law.
    5. Added to the "Breaking News" section of our website the fact that the National Cancer Centers of Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore have agreed to work on banning the manufacture, import, export and sale of toxic-tobacco products. Similar to the Toxic-Tobacco Law, the ban would go into effect after a 10-year adjustment period.
    6. Reviewed an article by George Thomson, Nick Wilson and Julian Crane (NZMJ 15 April 2005) advocating the creation of a government toxic-tobacco authority to which the toxic-tobacco industry would have to respond. This idea was credited to Borland and Liberman. The toxic-tobacco authority would control marketing, ingredients, retail venues, brandless packs and less harmful devices.
    7. Completed a summary of "endgame" strategies (1997-2005) for the toxic-tobacco industry that was sent to our public health colleagues and posted on our website. Also, sent the summary of endgames to planners of the 2006 World Conference on Tobacco or Health at their request.
    8. In 2005 our website, www.toxic-tobaccolaw.org, received 1,236 visitors per month (mean), an increase of 51% over 2004.
    9. Launched our OnLine Petition (www.toxic-tobaccolaw.org/7petition.shtml) that urges Congress to pass the Toxic-Tobacco Law. This complements our long-standing hard copy petition aimed at securing 1,000,000 signers. A "Be One in a Million" campaign will be initiated in 2006 to reach our goal.
    10. Broadcasted via e-mail the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition's 2004 Executive Summary to thousands of colleagues interested in stopping the predatory behavior of the toxic-tobacco industry.
    11. Sent a letter to CEO Cheryl Healton protesting the American Legacy Foundation's presenting an award to Time Inc., a collaborating vehicle for cancer stick advertising.
    12. Provided Toxic-Tobacco Law T-shirts for photo opportunities in Georgia of the former Soviet Union.
    13. Supported Washington DC's successful campaign to prohibit indoor smoking.
    14. Determined that the current level of activity of the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition is sustainable into the foreseeable future given its current and projected resources.

      We thank the following volunteers for their service to the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition:

      Terence A. Gerace, Ph.D., National Coordinator
      M. Holly Gerace, B.A., Comptroller
      Michele Lee Campoamor, J.D., Legal Counsel
      Terence A. Gerace, Jr., M.D., Medical Advisor
      Valerie George, R.D., Ph.D., Regional Coordinator
      Susan Schwartz, Research Associate
      Pam Catanzano, R.N., M.S., Public Health Consultant
      Anthony Fleg, B.A.,Youth Ambassador
      Kwang Wei Chan , Information Technology Consultant


      Asia's Plan to Ban

      The National Cancer Centers of Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea and Singapore have agreed to work on banning the manufacture, import, export and sale of toxic-tobacco products. The ban would go into effect in 10 years.


      Toxic-Tobacco Endgames: 1997-2005

      We are pleased to bring to your attention a very important new book from Canada that outlines ways to stop the predatory behavior of the toxic-tobacco industry. This exposition by Callard, Thompson and Collishaw introduces many of the details that need to be addressed to implement the Toxic-Tobacco Law. Following the summary of their book are summaries of other recently published works on "endgames" from New Zealand, Australia, Philippines and the United States.

      1. Regardless of the regulatory tactics governments introduce, toxic-tobacco companies will react by trying to increase sales and thus profits. The profit motive is diametrically opposed to the public health goal of reducing the harm incurred by users of toxic-tobacco. Therefore, Canada should purchase the for-profit toxic-tobacco companies and turn them into a not-for-profit public interest corporation whose goal is to reduce the harm caused by toxic-tobacco. The purchase of these companies in Canada could be paid for by two years of tax revenue.
      Callard C, Thompson D, Collishaw N. Curing the addiction to profits: a supply-side approach to phasing out tobacco. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, 2005.
      Callard C, Thompson D, Collishaw N. Transforming the tobacco market: Why the supply of cigarettes should be transferred from for-profit corporations to non-profit enterprises with a public health mandate. Tobacco Control. 2005;14:278-283.

      2. New Zealand should have a government Tobacco Authority to specify the design and ingredients of toxic-tobacco products to minimize injury, end all marketing of brands, control less toxic tobacco products and other nicotine products, and remove the profit motive from manufacturers (after Borland and Liberman's model, see below). The Tobacco Authority's goal would be harm reduction. By controlling the retail environment also, the authority could further its goal of reducing the usage of toxic-tobacco. The authority could be funded through taxes on the toxic-tobacco industry.
      Thomson G, Wilson N, Crane J. Rethinking the regulatory framework for tobacco control in New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal. 2005;118:1-7.

      3. "Marketing is where the power lies in the modern tobacco industry." Therefore, Australia should establish a Tobacco Products Agency (TPA) to regulate the toxic-tobacco market and service consumers while minimizing harm. A "regulated market model" would end the practice of manufacturers' designing products to increase their attractiveness and associating them with desirable lifestyles in advertisements to add value to them. The TPA would eliminate the relationship between manufacturers and consumers and phase out the dirtiest forms of toxic-tobacco products. The TPA would be the only organization to communicate with the public and control what retailers say. The TPA should be independent from government and its revenue raising agencies. "[G]rowers would sell to licensed manufacturers who would tender for market share from the TPA."
      Borland R. A strategy for controlling the marketing of tobacco products: a regulated market model. Tobacco Control. 2003;12:374-382.

      4. "... I hope to see the adoption of approaches that question the 'right' of the tobacco industry to profit in circumstances where the more harm it causes, the more money it makes. The tobacco industry has no such 'right'. It can do only what the community allows it to do.
         Australia should create a regulatory agency with "no financial interest in the sale of products" and whose primary focus is to reduce harm from toxic-tobacco. "The agency would decide what products it wanted on the market, with what ingredients, in what packaging ... , and manufacturers and retailers would compete to meet its requirements. ..."
         "[P]rofits of manufacturers and retailers come from meeting the agency's requirements, rather than in growing and sustaining markets in the ordinary way."
      Liberman J. Where to for tobacco regulation: time for new approaches? Drug and Alcohol Review. 2003;22:461-469.

      5. "The time for half measures and stricter regulations and stern warnings about the dangers of smoking has come to an end. Only the abolition of the industry can save our countrymen, particularly the younger set from acquiring the deadly habit of smoking."
         House Bill 2124, introduced by Narciso D. Monfort, MD into the Philippines Congress, aimed to phase out the toxic-tobacco industry within the next 20 years. House Bill 2124 did not pass.
      Monfert ND in Garcia CRA, reporter. Philippines: Bill proposing phaseout of cigarette, tobacco industry opposed. Business World (ph): April 3, 2002.

      6. "But a product that kills people�when used as intended�is different. No one should be allowed to make a profit from it."
         "[I]n the long term, the solution to the smoking problem rests with the bottom line, prohibiting the tobacco companies from continuing to profit from the sale of a deadly, addictive drug. These profits are inevitably used to promote that same addictive product and to generate more sales. If public health is to be the centerpiece of tobacco control�if our goal is to halt this manmade epidemic�the tobacco industry, as currently configured, needs to be dismantled."
         "Congress should charter" a corporation, "one from which no one profits, to take over manufacturing and sales."
      Kessler D. A question of intent: A great American battle with a deadly industry. New York: PublicAffairs, 2001.

      7. The Toxic-Tobacco Law will ban companies in the U.S. from making, marketing or importing cigarettes, cigars, chew, snuff, pipe tobacco, and cigarette tobacco. To provide an adjustment period, the ban will begin 5-10 years after Congress passes the Law and the president signs it.
         Unlike Prohibition, individual adults (21 and older) will be able to import toxic-tobacco products or buy them from federal stores supplied by a non-profit governmental corporation. Nationally, smoking will not be permitted in any public buildings or indoor worksites. Smoking cessation programs will be widespread and extensive countermarketing of toxic-tobacco products will take place.
         The Law will end access by youths, all advertising and other promotional marketing, the ubiquitous presence of toxic-tobacco in hundreds of thousands of retail venues, and the normalization of toxic-tobacco consumption.
      Gerace TA. The Toxic-Tobacco Law: "Appropriate remedial action." Journal of Public Health Policy. 1999;20:394-407.
      Gerace TA. Tobacco advertising and freedom of speech. Letter to the Editor. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002;288:1586.
      Gerace TA. The Lancet's call to ban smoking in the UK. Correspondence. Lancet. 2004;363:399.

      8. It should be illegal to manufacture and sell for-profit all toxic-tobacco products. To satisfy the demands of addicted users, the United States should create a public health agency that would simultaneously provide toxic-tobacco products, smoking cessation and prevention programs.
      Smart DC. Weighing tobacco control alternatives, their illusions and realities. Unpublished manuscript 1998.

      9. As citizens of the United States, we are in an ethical dilemma because we permit manufacturers to make toxic-tobacco products that we know cause death and disability, and contain nicotine, an addictive drug. The Toxic-Tobacco Law will make it illegal for corporations in the U.S. to manufacture or import toxic-tobacco products. The Law will not prohibit farmers from growing toxic-tobacco, or adults from buying and consuming toxic-tobacco products supplied from government owned facilities.
      Gerace TA. The Toxic-Tobacco Law: "Appropriate remedial action." Unpublished manuscript, May 26,1997 .


      Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition: 2004 Annual Report

      This Executive Summary outlines the progress made by the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition and its volunteers during 2004.

      1. Lancet published our response to its editorial that called for a total ban on toxic-tobacco in the U.K (2004;363:399). This is the second time that an international medical journal has outlined the Toxic-Tobacco Law. Dr. Koop gave us permission to quote him in the Lancet saying the Toxic-Tobacco Law "has great merit." This correspondence also mentioned former FDA commissioner Kessler's conversion to supporting the dismantling of the toxic-tobacco industry and Dr. Monfort's similar conviction in the bill he offered the Philippines House of Representatives.
      2. Visits per month to www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org increased 138% from 2003 to 2004 (means = 345 and 821, respectively).
      3. Revised our paper "Cost-free countermarketing: Big Tobacco versus toxic-tobacco companies" for sequential submissions to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet.
      4. Submitted a letter to the editor of the Washington Post that responded to Brandt and Richardson's op-ed piece called "Tobacco Pandemic".
      5. Broadcasted via e-mail the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition's 2003 Annual Report to public health leaders and thousands of colleagues.
      6. Presented a letter to Cheryl Healton, CEO, American Legacy Foundation, urging that her Foundation be prudent in working with CVS at five of its drug stores to counsel smokers to quit smoking. Our letter pointed out that the hypocrisy of CVS's intervening on smoking while greatly profiting by promoting and supplying cigarettes will not go unnoticed by the media.
      7. Placed Toxic-Tobacco Law brochures at a convenience store in Washington, DC that no longer sells toxic-tobacco products.
      8. Sent the Washington Post a letter to the editor arguing against its editorial supporting S.2461, a senate bill purportedly giving the FDA regulatory authority over the toxic-tobacco industry.
      9. Composed four letters to congressional sponsors (Kennedy, Dewine, Waxman and Davis) asking them to reconsider S.2461 and H.R.4433 (see previous item). Copies also went to public health leaders.
      10. Supported Dr. Michael Siegel's coalition against the FDA regulatory amendment (formerly S.2461) to S.1637.
      11. Distributed 19 dissenting letters to staffers of Senators who were members of the conference committee that worked on the FDA regulatory amendment (formerly S.2461) to S.1637.
      12. Faxed the message "Philip Morris wants these FDA regulations. How RED does the flag have to be?" to representatives and senators on the congressional conference committee considering the amendment that would authorize the FDA to regulate toxic-tobacco.
      13. Submitted two letters to the editor and an op-ed piece to the Washington Post arguing against proposed legislation to give the FDA regulatory authority over the toxic-tobacco industry. One letter was accepted and then rejected.
      14. Composed a short essay on "endgames" for toxic-tobacco and sent it to 114 toxic-tobacco activists. Received 16 replies that have formed the basis for future discussions and plans. Replied to the respondents individually and also to the entire group.

        Regulating the FDA Helps Marlboro

        August 24, 2004

        To the Editor:

        The Post may stop urging Congress to "give the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over tobacco products"[editorial, Aug 20] after learning the devilish details in the enabling legislation. For example, it would forbid the FDA from raising the purchasing age above 18, determining where tobacco may be sold, or reducing nicotine to zero in tobacco products.

        Philip Morris USA Inc. is sponsoring this legislation to convince us that it is a "good corporate citizen", yet its best selling Marlboro flip-top box would be exempted from the required warning label on its front and rear panels. Philip Morris supports spending $138 million per year in "user fees" to pay the FDA's cost of collaborating (e.g., salaries) in search of "reduced-risk" cigarettes. This is a small price to pay to keep its revenues high ($4.6 billion, second quarter of 2004), and further legitimize itself by being able to describe its products as "US Government Approved" and "FDA sanctioned," protecting it from future liability suits and increasing sales.

        Charging the FDA with supervising the creation of a safer cigarette invites an endless game during which new generations will become addicted to tobacco and the public will be lulled into thinking that a "safe cigarette" is around the corner. Tobacco companies have taken us down this unending road before, beginning in the 1950s with filtered cigarettes and continuing into the 1970s with "low tar" cigarettes. For its predatory behavior, Philip Morris recently lost a $10.1 billion suit that found the company guilty of deceiving smokers into believing that "low tar" and "low nicotine" cigarettes were safer than regular cigarettes.

        The FDA regulations at issue will not produce a safe cigarette, reduce youth access to tobacco, aid adults in quitting, reduce the 440,000 deaths caused by tobacco yearly, or lessen the 8.6 million Americans chronically suffering from cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema.


        Toxic-Tobacco Law in The Lancet

        On December 6, 2003 (p 1865), The Lancet, one of the world's most influential medical journals, demanded that the United Kingdom ban toxic-tobacco. The editors reasoned that "If tobacco were an illegal substance ... the number of smokers would drastically fall."

        We appreciate the journal's message that an endgame is urgently needed to halt the ever expanding epidemic caused by toxic-tobacco, but we disagree with its plan. We also thank The Lancet for rightfully making the Toxic-Tobacco Law appear less draconian and more feasible politically.

        On January 31, 2004, The Lancet published our correspondence (aka "letter to the editor") which included a description of the Toxic-Tobacco Law.


        Surgeon General OK on Toxic-Tobacco Ban

        Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., shocked supporters of toxic-tobacco in Congress and the White House when he said that he "would support banning or abolishing tobacco products." He also said that "I see no need for any tobacco products in society."

        Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said "I've never heard anything like that from any public official." (The Washington Post, June 4, 2003, A1.)


        Cancer Doctors Plan Prevention

        The American Society of Clinical Oncology, composed of doctors who treat cancer patients, committed itself to taking a leadership role in preventing cancer caused by toxic-tobacco. The Society plans to support a commission that will examine the economic and regulatory issues among others, with the ultimate goal of creating a toxic-tobacco free planet. (Pollack, A. The New York Times, May 31, 2003, 25)


        Co$t-free countermarketing: "Big Tobacco" versus "toxic-tobacco companies"

        The Journal of the American Medical Association recently rejected the above titled manuscript. The abstract below summarizes the manuscript.

        As long as cigarette companies are permitted to advertise to each new generation, cost-effective and cost-free countermarketing techniques will be needed to discredit their fraudulent ads and to highlight the harm caused by their products. This paper describes a cost-free countermarketing proposal that urges tobacco control advocates to substitute the words "toxic-tobacco" for tobacco and "toxic-tobacco companies" for Big Tobacco in all press releases, speeches; radio, television and newspaper interviews, proposed legislation and counteradvertisements. Then, the mass media (e.g., newspapers) will have to use these substitutions which will reinforce the message that tobacco is poisonous for those who know, and educate those who do not know. At the same time these substitutions will challenge the credibility and acceptability of tobacco companies in civilized society.


        Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition: 2003 Annual Report

        This report summarizes the progress made by the volunteers of the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition during 2003.

        1. Established our new website on a UICC (International Union Against Cancer) GLOBALink server (The International Tobacco-Control Network) in Geneva, Switzerland.
        2. Submitted our website address, www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org, to Google.com (Jan. 10). Visits to our website have increased from 82 per month in Jan. 2003 to 544 per month in Dec. 2003, a 563% increase.
        3. Sent a list of descriptive terms that form the acronym Altria such as Acronym lofted to reduce image attacks to public health leaders including John Seffrin, American Cancer Society, Mathew Myers, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and Cheryl Healton, American Legacy Foundation, after Philip Morris Inc. changed its name to Altria Group Inc. (Jan. 29).
        4. Submitted our manuscript Cost-free countermarketing: "Big Tobacco" versus "toxic-tobacco companies" after previous rejection to Public Health Reports (Feb. 27), the Journal of Public Health Policy (Apr.18) and Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug. 4).
        5. Sent 2002 Annual Report Executive Summary to public health leaders and thousands of colleagues on our emailing list (Mar.10).
        6. Sent e-mail announcements of our new website to our extensive mailing list based on attendees at the 11th World Conference on Tobacco or Health (May 7-Jul. 3).
        7. Corresponded with the President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Paul Bunn, regarding our support of the society's commitment to creating a smoke-free world and our perspective on the Toxic-Tobacco Law as an endgame (June 5).
        8. Attended a rally sponsored by SmokeFree DC to give our support to this effort to ban toxic-tobacco smoke from all worksites and indoor public places in the capital of the United States (Sept. 17). The voters will determine the fate of the resolution on November 2, 2004.
        9. Corresponded with the American Cancer Society regarding our mutual aim to reduce the disease toll caused by toxic-tobacco (Oct. 1).
        10. Wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post on Congress, a proposal for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate toxic-tobacco, and the Toxic-Tobacco Law as an alternative endgame (Oct. 2). The piece was submitted after thirteen out of fourteen colleagues, including former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, responded to our request for editorial comments. Unfortunately, the Washington Post did not run any pieces on FDA regulation after Congress stopped negotiating on this issue.
        11. Sent The Lancet a correspondence responding to its editorial calling on the UK government to ban toxic-tobacco and criminalize its use (Dec. 12). The correspondence outlined the Toxic-Tobacco Law, and spotlighted a like bill offered to the Philippines Congress and David Kessler's (former FDA Commissioner) call to dismantle the industry instead of regulating it. The Lancet published the correspondence on Jan. 31, 2004.

        Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition: 2002 Annual Report

        This Executive Summary outlines the progress made by the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition and its volunteers during 2002.

        1. Launched our new website www.Toxic-TobaccoLaw.org after selecting and editing archived content and creating new material. Kwang Wei Chan, our Information Technology Consultant at Purdue University, collaborated greatly in designing and constructing our website. Our site is hosted by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) GlobaLink in Geneva, Switzerland.
        2. Encouraged high school students in Ocean City, NJ to collect Toxic-Tobacco Law petition signatures from other students.
        3. Sent out petitions and brochures to volunteers in Florida, New Jersey and New York.
        4. Received our first petition signatures from Texas, bringing the number of represented states to 19 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
        5. Received our largest single day number of petition signatures from Norma Hall in Miami, FL.
        6. Accepted our second largest single day number of petition signatures from Valerie George and Sten Henricksen from South Florida.
        7. Wrote a letter to the editor of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) responding to three articles published in the March 2002 issue that describe the difficulty of regulating advertising of toxic-tobacco products. The letter was rejected, but it was sent to the authors of the published articles.
        8. Publicized Representative Monfort's bill (HB 2124) in the Philippines Congress that calls for stopping all expansion of the toxic-tobacco industry and setting up a presidential commission to design the dismantling of the toxic-tobacco industry over the next 20 years. Dr. Monfort asked for our assistance and we sent him a detailed paper regarding issues that need to be considered in the context of his bill. HB 2124 is a very important precedent for the Toxic-Tobacco Law.
        9. Supported the Student Coalition Against Tobacco (SCAT) Tobacco Free Youth Rally at Lincoln Memorial on May 1, 2002 and met Tom Gahr, student advisor.
        10. Wrote an article entitled Cost-free countermarketing: "Big tobacco" vs. "toxic-tobacco companies" that was rejected without outside review by Tobacco Control and the American Journal of Public Health. After another rejection (Public Health Reports), we submitted the manuscript to the Journal of Public Health Policy.
        11. Sent six T-shirts to Puerto Rico for a photo shoot of teenage supporters. The results of the shoot will appear on our website.
        12. First letter to editor on the Toxic-Tobacco Law published October 2, 2002 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

        The following individuals continue to volunteer their services to the Toxic-Tobacco Law Coalition:

        Terence A. Gerace, Ph.D., National Coordinator
        M. Holly Gerace, B.A., Comptroller
        Michele Lee Campoamor, J.D., Legal Counsel
        Terence A. Gerace, Jr., M.D., Medical Advisor
        Valerie George, R.D., Ph.D., Regional Coordinator
        Susan Schwartz, Research Associate
        Pam Catanzano, R.N., M.S., Public Health Consultant
        Anthony Fleg, B.A.,Youth Ambassador
        Kwang Wei Chan , Information Technology Consultant


        Toxic-Tobacco Law in the Journal of the American Medical Association

        Please check out our Letter to the Editor in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), October 2, 2002, and the response to the letter. You may register as a guest to have free access to this section of the Journal.


        Philip Morris=Altria

        Acronym lofted to reduce image attacks.
        Absorb large tobacco relationship in alias.
        Always loathing tobacco regulations in America.
        Angina, lungs, toxins, respiratory illnesses, atherosclerosis.
        Acting like tobacco relationship is absent.
        Alias letting tobacco raise income always.
        Artificial label to reduce incriminating accusations.
        Aim, lose tobacco relationship in alias.
        Alcohol, lunches, tobacco rolled into alias.
        Alias launched to reduce incriminating accusations.
        A label to reduce image attacks.
        Alias lowering tobacco rogues' image aggravation.
        Alternative label to reduce image acne.
        Alternative label to restore image acceptance.


        The Toxic-Tobacco Law Goes 'Round the World

        Arguably one of the most important events related to the Toxic-Tobacco Law (1,2) recently occurred thousands of miles from the United States when Dr. Monfort, representative in the Philippines Congress, introduced House Bill 2124.

        This bill calls for:
        1) Banning the introduction of new cigarette or toxic-tobacco companies in the Philippines,
        2) Forbidding current cigarette and toxic-tobacco companies from expanding their production capabilities, and
        3) Establishing a presidential commission to design the process of phasing out the toxic-tobacco and cigarette industries.

        Monfort's bill "is aimed at the gradual phaseout of the toxic-tobacco industry within the next 20 years" (3).

        The National Tobacco Administration (regulator of Philippines tobacco industry), a major opponent of the bill (along with Philip Morris), says that it opposes proposals that would reduce tobacco leaf production by farmers; but at the same time urges that if this bill is enacted, it needs to include well-defined measures to counter the economic consequences (3).

        "'The time for half measures and stricter regulations and stern warnings about the dangers of smoking has come to an end. Only the abolition of the industry can save our countrymen (and women), particularly the younger set from acquiring the deadly habit of smoking,' Mr. Monfort said (3)."

        References
        1. Gerace, TA. The Toxic-Tobacco Law: "Appropriate Remedial Action". Journal of Public Health Policy,1999;20:394-407.
        2. Gerace, TA. Tobacco advertising and freedom of speech. Journal of the American Medical Association,2002;288:1586.
        3. Garcia, Cathy Rose A. "Philippines: Bill Proposing Phaseout of Cigarette, Tobacco Industry Opposed," Business World (ph) April 3, 2002.