One month ahead of schedule, CVS Health no longer sells cigarettes in its 7700 CVS retail stores. Pharmacy Times reported that back in February, CVS Caremark announced its decision to ban cigarettes sales from its stores. The corporate organization announced its own deadline as October 1st, but it appears that much work was put into achieving this goal earlier this month. NY Times adds that e-cigarettes have also been discontinued from the company’s retail inventory.
The decision comes with support from various health organizations. The American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Pharmacists Association have concluded over recent years that smoking is a health risk with links to a variety of diseases and cancers. Pharmacy Times also notes that CVS Health conducted its own research about tobacco removal when reaching the decision to stop cigarette sales in its stores. Some of these studies tracked the effects of available tobacco to smoker habits, finding that there was a 5.5% decrease in cigarette purchases when stores banned tobacco, making it harder to purchase.
Daily Cougar notes that the first major change is at the checkout counters of all CVS stores. There are no longer walls of cigarettes available for convenient purchases. These have been replaced with advertising to promote quitting. Daily Targum also reports that cigarette sales made up an annual $2 billion industry for CVS Caremark, noting that accessibility to tobacco is the main target for the corporation’s new health-focused image. The new CVS marketing is found online, too. The “Let’s Quit Together” movement includes explanations on the company’s site that read, “We quit cigarettes. Now, we want to help you do the same.”
Pharmacy Times also reports that the smoking cessation program combines efforts from the CVS pharmacy, CVS minute clinic and CVS caremark departments, leading up to the company’s recent name change to CVS Health, according to Wall Street Journal. The financial risk of halting tobacco sales has been seen as a prudent public relations move since CVS is the first major pharmacy chain to participate in the tobacco ban.
Washington Times concurs that this latest corporate decision reflects the company’s “health” mission. NY Times adds that The American Thoracic Society has reacted favorably to the new CVS Health ban on tobacco, joining several other health organizations in applauding the corporation’s choice, in spite of the potential financial risks. Market Watch assures that CVS has benefited from its bold decision against tobacco sales, noting a 10.7% increase in CVS revenues during the second quarter, totaling to about $34.6 billion.
Inquisitr previously reported when CVS Caremark first announced it would stop selling cigarettes by October 1st of this year. Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS stated, “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.”
(Image courtesy of Credit Andrew Renneisen/The New York Times )