CVS to be First U.S. Drugstore Chain to Stop Selling Tobacco Products

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling tobacco products by October 1, the Los Angeles Times reports. CVS, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, will be the first national pharmacy company to stop selling tobacco.

The company has more than 7,600 retail stores, the article notes. Public health advocates have pressured retailers for years to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. CVS says its annual sales of tobacco products total about $2 billion, or about 1.6 percent of the company’s revenues in 2012.

“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,” President and CEO Larry J. Merlo said in a statement. “The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.” The company also said it will launch a “robust national smoking cessation program” this spring.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauded the company’s decision. In a statement, President Matthew L. Myers said the move “represents one of the strongest actions any business has ever taken to address the enormous public health problems caused by tobacco use. CVS’s decision will reduce the availability of cigarettes and other tobacco products and sends an unmistakable message to all Americans, especially children, that tobacco use is uniquely harmful and socially unacceptable.”

Target announced in 1996 that it would stop selling tobacco products. No major retailer has limited tobacco sales since then, according to the newspaper.

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    February 6, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    There’s no inherent contradiction between selling cigarettes and selling pharmaceuticals. So, reading their actions, the anti-smokers are up to their usual trick of buying companies in order to force them to engage in acts that are contrary to their own financial interests, for the sake of promoting social engineering goals. (Which they have been doing ever since the days of the American Tobacco Trust a hundred years ago. In a flagrant example, the stepson of the head of the American Cancer Society, who declared war on smoking, was a director of Philip Morris for nearly 20 years.) Tellingly, William C. Weldon, former Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, is a director of CVS. The fast food industry is also full of their ilk, as well as other sectors which are under attack by the activist oligarchy. And although their activities are supposed to be forbidden by SEC regulations, they are of course never called out for them.

    Strange things have been going on at CVS with executive compensation. Between 2010 and 2012, its President/CEO’s rose from $10M to $20M, while that of the President of CVS Caremark Pharmacy dropped from $16M to $8M.

    BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, owns 6.2% of CVS. More than 5% is considered a controlling interest. They are supposed to have about $4 billion in cash, while their total trading book is near $4 trillion – an asset base larger than The Federal Reserve.

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    Dina Perkins

    February 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    So…they stop selling tobacco products and continue to sell addictive drugs to everyone with a prescription…without looking into why they’re on them. Makes no sense at all! It’s like “a man that flees from a lion only to have a bear confront him”.

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    February 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Not the first chain. Perhaps the first national chain. Laverdiere’s drugs, a small chain in Maine ended tobacco sales back in the late 80s. They have since disappeared, hopefully there was no causal connection.
    PS I hate the Captcha code. I guess I am not supposed to include spaces between the letters.

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