The habit of smoking is becoming a big epidemic in America, where many teens are pushed into smoking by peer pressure, as well as adults who are pressured into smoking for stress relief. With this in mind, one corporation and its stores (CVS) have taken this into account and will soon cease selling tobacco products to the public.
According to The New York Times, CVS/Cakemark, hailed as America’s “largest drug store chain in overall sales,” announced today that it will be stopping all cigarette (and other tobacco product) purchases by Wednesday, October 1st. The reason for this change is help promote the company’s image of health awareness, along with being more of a “health care provider” than a “largely retail business.”
This decision by the CVS/Caremark company did not come lightly, and according to figures discussed in The New York Times‘ article, this decision to eliminate the purchasing of tobacco products will cost two-million dollars from the tobacco-smoking community.
Larry J. Merlo, Chief Executive Officer of CVS, offered the following statement pertaining to the company’s decision to end tobacco sales:
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking. We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.”
Earlier today, CVS announced on their Twitter account that they are taking a stand on smoking, and they also provided a statistical graphic showing how many deaths are linked to smoking each other.
— CVS/pharmacy (@CVS_Extra) February 5, 2014
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, released a statement today backing Merlo’s decision, stating “Today’s CVS/Caremark announcement helps bring our country closer to achieving a tobacco-free generation. I hope others will follow their lead in this important step to curtail tobacco use.”
With this decision from CVS/Caremark, there has been some opposition to the company’s choice to go tobacco free. Nik Modi, an Investment Analyst for RBC Capital Markets who follows tobacco stocks said that he “doubted CVS’s move would have a major impact on tobacco sales, noting that roughly three-quarters of cigarette sales occur in convenience stores.”
Will other pharmacy stores follow CVS/Caremark’s example and cease selling tobacco products? Only time will tell.
Image via Wikimedia Commons