The luxury of being able to purchase your cigarettes, while picking up your prescriptions, will soon come to an end. CVS Caremark made an announcement, on Wednesday, stating that, as of October 1, 2014, they will no longer be selling cigarettes or any other tobacco product at their 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores.
The decision to end tobacco sales is monumental, as they will be the first national pharmacy chain to do so. Currently, CVS is the second largest national pharmacy chain, next only to Walgreen Co. The final decision was not made lightly, and comes from years of pressure from health care organizations and other medical providers to remove tobacco products from the store.
“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,” Larry J. Merlo, the president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
The move came, in part, to establish a stronger position as a health care provider. However, by doing this, CVS will be giving up approximately $2 billion in revenue from tobacco purchasers. This number is equivalent to an estimated 1.6 percent of the revenue in 2012.
CVS is the first large retailer to forbid tobacco sales since Target made their announcement to stop selling tobacco products in 1996. CVS is receiving positive feedback from those in the healthcare industry, and is being looked at as a role model for other large retailers.
“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,” said Dr. Richard Wender, the chief cancer control officer at the American Cancer Society.
To fill the void of the tobacco sales, CVS plans to launch a smoking cessation program in the Spring that will offer information and treatments for those smokers who are trying to quit.
“As a leader of the health care community focused on improving health outcomes, we are pledging to help millions of Americans quit smoking,” said Merlo. “In addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale, we will undertake a robust national smoking cessation program.”
Definitely on board for #cvsquits , it only makes sense for a drug store to stop selling death sticks
— Kari (@valkyrievance) February 5, 2014
— June Owens (@JOwens1214) February 5, 2014
— Christine L. Grace (@ChristineLGrace) February 5, 2014
— ChristianB (@Bigmoves5) February 5, 2014