CVS to stop selling tobacco products at an estimated cost of $2 billion annually


CVS Caremark made a major announcement yesterday that their over 7,600 stores will be phasing out the sale of all tobacco products. It’s estimated that this decision will cost the company $2 billion in annual tobacco and tobacco-related sales.

The CEO of CVS Caremark Larry J. Merlo said, “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

The move in which all tobacco related sales will be halted by October 1, drew high praise from multiple health organizations as well as the president.

Barack Obama:

“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs — ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”

Dr. Richard Wender, chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society:

“This is an important, bold public health decision by a major retail pharmacy to act on the long understood reality that blending providing health care and providing cigarettes just doesn’t match.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

“We need an all-hands-on-deck effort to take tobacco products out of the hands of America’s young generation, and to help those who are addicted to quit. Today’s CVS Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead.”

The decision has immediately put pressure on other major pharmacy outlets to back the play. Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham said in a statement, “We have been evaluating this product category for some time to balance the choices our customers expect from us with their ongoing health needs. We will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking-cessation products and alternatives that help to reduce the demand for tobacco products.”

According to CNN, smoking-cessation products such as nicotine patches or gum will continue to be available at CVS/pharmacy locations.

What do you think about the corporation’s decision? Do you think it will have a genuine impact?

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