CVS had been planning to eliminate tobacco sales since early 2014 and today, its goal is realized. The drug store giant believes that tobacco in any form is detrimental to good health and selling it in stores is inconsistent with the company’s mission. Thus, the decision was made to end tobacco sales storewide by October 1, 2014. CVS came in a little ahead of schedule, starting the tobacco- free policy beginning today.
Health advocates applaud the decision and hope that other drug stores follow CVS’ lead. The American Pharmacists Association is particularly pleased with the leadership role CVS has taken and other non- profit groups are hoping that the move becomes a nationwide trend.
“CVS’s announcement to stop selling tobacco products fully a month early sends a resounding message to the entire retail industry and to its customers that pharmacies should not be in the business of selling tobacco”, said Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids president Matthew Myers. “This is truly an example of a corporation leading and setting a new standard.”
Ending tobacco sales is part of CVS’ larger anti- tobacco campaign, which includes a smoking cessation initiative. CVS will sell medication to help smokers quit the habit, educational material to advise on tobacco and its ill effects on health, and coaching for those who need some personal motivation to go tobacco- free.
In addition to the decision to drop tobacco, CVS Caremark is also changing its name. It will now be known as CVS Health, a name consistent with the company image and its dedication to well- being. Individual stores will still be called CVS Pharmacy.
CVS operates approximately 7,700 retail stores and is second only to Walgreens in size. Tobacco sales for the chain totaled about $2 billion last year, so the decision to drop tobacco will definitely affect the company financially. Still, CVS management feels it’s the right thing to do and they encourage other retailers to do the same.