CVS Drug Stores to Stop Selling Tobacco Products

By Brent McCluskey 09/10/14

In just a few weeks, the pharmacy chain will lose $2 billion in annual revenue when it implements a new policy to stop selling tobacco products.

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CVS Caremark has opted to stop selling tobacco products in their stores in an effort to promote better health for their customers.

President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo announced in February that starting this Oct. 1, CVS locations across the nation will no longer sell cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or any other forms of tobacco.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company,” CVS said in a statement. “The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purposes – helping people on their path to better health.”

Every day, CVS helps millions of patients manage chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, and the selling of tobacco products in CVS pharmacies goes against their health care mission, Merlo said.

CVS will be the first national pharmacy chain to set an outright ban on tobacco sales, and CVS Medical Officer Dr. Troyen Brennan hopes the bold move will make cigarettes and other harmful products more difficult to come by.

“This action may not lead many people to stop smoking; smokers will probably simply go elsewhere to buy cigarettes,” Brennan said in an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “but if other retailers follow this lead, tobacco products will become much more difficult to obtain.”

CVS will lose approximately $2 billion in annual revenue without the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, but executives hope the company’s new direction will ultimately bolster the health care business.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.