Today, CVS/pharmacy announced they will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products from all of its store making it the first national pharmacy chain to end the sale of tobacco products.
More than 7,600 CVS stores nationwide will begin removing these tobacco products from their shelves starting today and aim to have no sign of tobacco related products in their stores by October 1, 2014. CVS/pharmacy feels selling cigarettes is contradictory to its purpose which is to help people have better health.
Over 26,000 pharmacists help their patients manage chronic diseases and illness such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Cigarette smoking only makes these conditions worse. President and CEO Larry Merlo stated in a video announcement, “Removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do.”
CVS also hopes to see growth in its CVS Caremark program as a health care company for patients not only by better serving their patients but also controlling costs of health care. The inability for the company’s customers to purchase cigarettes may also help their effort to quit smoking.
A day after the retailer made the big announcement, President Barack Obama released a statement from the White House as follows:
“I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores, and begin a national campaign to help millions of Americans quit smoking instead. 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. I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.”
According to the American Cancer Society, about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use each year. Although habitual smokers may find another store to purchase their tobacco products, CVS/pharmacy is taking initiative in the effort to help people quit smoking.
[Sources: White House, CVS]
In the video below, CVS Caremark's President/CEO Announces his plan to discontinue cigarette sales at CVS Stores. Video via CVS Caremark's Official YouTube Page.