CVS Stores to Stop Selling Cigarettes, Tobacco

Products will be off store shelves nationwide by Oct. 1.

CVS plans to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products nationwide. Patch File Photo
CVS plans to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products nationwide. Patch File Photo
By Liz Taurasi

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will no longer sell cigarettes and other tobacco products in stores across the country by Oct. 1. The move will make CVS the first national pharmacy chain to take this step.

CVS has more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the country.

"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," said CVS Caremark President and CEO Larry J. Merlo in a statement released Wednesday morning. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

Merlo goes on to say that the action the company is taking today by removing tobacco products from its stores “further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace."

President Obama praised the company’s decision in a statement issued shortly after the announcement saying it was a choice that will have a “positively profound impact on the health of the country and that it sets a powerful example.

The Washington Post reported that with CVS’s plan to phase out tobacco products, it could lose approximately $2 billion in revenue generated by tobacco sales and the other products these same shoppers purchase.

Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the number of adults who are smokers has dropped from 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, it has stalled, according to the statement from CVS.

"CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease," said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. "Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use."
FedUpRealist February 06, 2014 at 12:24 PM
Uninformed voters have a voice too - however foolish they may be...Keep drinking the koolaid, Graciela....
Maryellen Brady February 06, 2014 at 12:46 PM
CVS does not sell alcohol in MD.
MYRNA lARSEN February 06, 2014 at 12:59 PM
After having been in two accidents caused by intoxicated drivers I would prefer that CVS eliminate alcohol from their stores. Innocents lives are lost every single day and nothing seems to be done to stop this. If they are making this decision based on the safety of their customers then alcohol should be the first to go!
SD From T-Bury February 06, 2014 at 01:00 PM
Last time I went to CVS I didn't see alcohol there. 1200 people will die from smoking related disease today in the US. It is 100% preventable if we'd eliminate tobacco products, which have zero usefulness in society. It will be nice in October to shop there and not see that garbage on the shelves. I can't believe they're even considered a legitimate product. To the poster who said they'll stop shopping there, no worries, I'll make up for it as I plan to shop there more now.
Sunny February 06, 2014 at 01:02 PM
Some CVS stores already in MA and CA stop selling cigarettes. The Associated Press article mentions that "CVS Caremark competitor Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain, sells tobacco, as does the world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which also operates pharmacies in its stores. But Target Corp., another major retailer with pharmacies in its stores, does not." I did a search to see if Chelmsford Wal-Mart sells cigarettes; the results were for cigarettes stands, dispensers and anything but cigarettes. I tried cigars, too. This is my search and I only have only been in one Wal-Mart, not Chelmsford. It appears tobacco items sold at gas station. Smokers convince Target and Wal-mart. CVS was already thinking to ban tobacco back in 2013.
pricklypair February 06, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Not so sure the CVSCaremark decision is all ethos and not business. Isn't their down the line plan onsite clinics at the stores.Wouldn't be surprised if somewhere in the war and peace that is ACA might be something they don't want to litigate around that won't let them do both (cigs/clinic) at a later date. Smells like lemonade PR to me.
Jerry February 06, 2014 at 01:20 PM
This is because they can not offer cvs brand cigs and nothing else
SD From T-Bury February 06, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Laura Tompkins - so you don't mind the increased healthcare costs that preventable lung diseases caused by smoking will force us all to pay? I wish it had been harder for my parents to buy cigarettes. They'd still be alive and they would have met their grandchildren. It's a 100% USELESS product that KILLS the user. Want the facts? Go to www.tobaccofreekids.org. You'll find a wealth of information on how this desperate and evil industry continues to target children. The less visibility their killer products get, the better. I'll gladly go to CVS now, especially since my kids won't be staring at these ridiculous products at the checkout.
Shripathi Kamath February 06, 2014 at 02:36 PM
macgeek February 06, 2014 at 09:45 AM marijuana is bad long term. you're kidding yourself if you think otherwise. ___________________________________________________ Are there studies showing the extent of this "bad long term"-ness, particularly how it relates to similar consumption of alcohol, tobacco, heck, firearms? Sugar is bad for you long term too. As is red meat. Of course, making marijuana legally accessible is what one is talking about, it does not mean that you *have to* consume it in bulk.
Shripathi Kamath February 06, 2014 at 02:39 PM
Laura Tompkins February 06, 2014 at 02:09 PM SD From Wherever - It's not the tobacco that killed your parents, it's their CHOICE to use it. Getting it is not the problem. Taking responsibility for your health is the problem. ____________________________________________________ Taking responsibility for your health? Meaning what? That you have a choice in not falling ill? CVS is deciding not to sell tobacco, there is NO ONE PREVENTING YOU from buying it from another place that sells it.
c5 February 06, 2014 at 02:48 PM
Gutsy move on their part...$2 billion in revenues down the drain. I applaud their efforts as a symbol of the right thing to do, but doubt it will have any impact on how many smokers there are or how much they smoke. This is about CVS being true to their strategy.
Grumpy Old Man February 06, 2014 at 04:30 PM
Michael Bloomberg speaks!
Grumpy Old Man February 06, 2014 at 04:33 PM
Actually suicide is classified as a homicide and is a criminal offense - only those who fail face jail time or other penal consequences.
robin February 06, 2014 at 04:41 PM
CVS is the worst place to shop AND for prescriptions. Obama has a lot of hyprocrisy here since HE is a smoker. Very surprised folks pay the very expensive price for cigarettes.... that's gas or milk money. If a person quit smoking he could save on average 2500 to 3000 a year. THAT's a lot of money.. So smokers - don't complain you can't pay your bills!!!!
Grumpy Old Man February 06, 2014 at 05:14 PM
This is getting better. Instead of soul train, we have troll train. Can this post get any more silly.
Grumpy Old Man February 06, 2014 at 05:59 PM
Not precisely. The comments can be viewed as silly but depending on your point of view, these comment sections allow people to present their opinions, vent their frustrations, argue. These comments often go far astray of the post in which they are made. Silly, depending on your point of view. But what my sarcastic remark was, and I didn't put it as well as I should have, towards the incivility that was creeping in. Calling someone a troll merely because one doesn't agree with the comments that person makes is not an appropriate response. We can and should be able to argue with another, even forcefully without ad hominems and deriding the other. I've been guilty of it myself and try to be civil. I didn't find your comments by the way uncivil. A little strong in some respects, but not inappropriate.
Shripathi Kamath February 06, 2014 at 06:55 PM
Grumpy Old Man February 06, 2014 at 05:59 PM Not precisely. The comments can be viewed as silly but depending on your point of view, these comment sections allow people to present their opinions, vent their frustrations, argue. ____________________________________________________ So it was me who said "This is getting better. Instead of soul train, we have troll train. Can this post get any more silly. " and not you? :-) [Relax, I got that you were being sarcastic] ____________________________________________________ "Calling someone a troll merely because one doesn't agree with the comments that person makes is not an appropriate response. " ____________________________________________________ But it is ALL such people can muster. Why deny them even that little? As a rule, I am always civil, but not always polite. Till the rules of engagement change, at which point I'll bow out or stay depending on the interest in the topic. But I very, very rarely respond to the person; it is directed at the comment. Naturally, when responding to a comment that is an ad hominem, the response may resemble the original comment. Unavoidable in some cases. ____________________________________________________ Look at the topic. A private corporation decides not to sell tobacco. Hardly news, but pent up frustrations on other things make it about Obama, Bloomberg, Freedumbs, Choice, ... which are, for a lack of a better word, silly. Calling it silly or questioning someone apparently makes me a troll. Calling me a troll shuts me down, or at least it does in the fantasy world. I suppose a pretentious quote is in order: ____________________________________________________ "The kangaroo is a funny animal, when attacked, it defends itself" - Sir Neville Cardus
Ike February 06, 2014 at 08:33 PM
Desert Rat February 06, 2014 at 09:54 PM
I'm guessing you shout in the store too Ike so perhaps CVS won't miss your business. That aside, there is a huge difference between prescription drugs that are used by doctors for specific reasons and sucking a burning piece of plant into your lungs for no other reason than you wanted to look cool and now you are hooked on the nicotine. As somebody with strong Libertarian leanings I am generally not in favor of the government or anyone else telling me what to do with my body. In this case however, I applaud any company that removes a product that is so overwhelmingly negative with little to no positive value in society. And with the advent of the redistribution of wealth, uh, I mean Obamacare, the rest of us really are paying for other's stupidity.
Gwenn Meltzer February 06, 2014 at 11:32 PM
CVS has the right to sell anything they want .. and Not to sell .. !! .. If they don't feel that the product is any good for their customers .. then it is their responsibility to do what is best for them .. !! .. No One should be forced to sell or buy cigarettes .. guns .. drugs .. alcohol .. to Anyone .. if they feel it could cause harm .. or be over indulged .. People that smoke have many other choices .. and alternatives .. and This statement is from an ex-smoker .. !! .. Nice going CVS
Dzeldaz February 07, 2014 at 01:00 AM
Thank you, Gwenn. Someone finally said the obvious. What Shripathi Kamath seems to forget is that CVS is a business, it is not run by the government. A business does what it feels is good for its owners/shareholders/employees/customers.
AKM February 07, 2014 at 01:01 AM
Oh but let's continue to sell alcohol! Glad I don't shop there anyway
Gwenn Meltzer February 07, 2014 at 01:31 AM
They do not sell alcohol .. in states or locales that have it legal, they sell wine and beer only .. and when consumed in moderation .. responsibly .. can be enjoyed .. and healthful .. Cigarettes have No medicinal value what so ever .. there are better ways to help someone who needs to calm their nerves .. maybe a nice glass of wine .. ?!
George Fulmore February 07, 2014 at 04:47 AM
Now if we can get big-5 to stop selling guns??? How's that for a concept?
Grumpy Old Man February 07, 2014 at 07:36 AM
@Shripathi Kamath: If you bothered to read my comment you would note I did not call you a troll. Far from it. I expressly stated otherwise. And I am perfectly relaxed. Responding to a comment itself is not an ad hominem, attacking the person who said it is. Your posts attacked the comment not the person. My comment was directed at a prior poster who referred to you as a troll - that was directed towards you. By the way, I essentially agree with your point, but these comment sections almost always go off topic. There was one where I live, Chicago, on the pending same sex marriage legislation, that got over 1000 comments, perhaps 1/15th of which had anything to do with the topic. Comments feed off each other and when there is something in the comment another doesn't agree with, off we go. Is it silly, yes. But it is also human nature. Regards.
Grumpy Old Man February 07, 2014 at 07:41 AM
Oh, I just re-read the first comment about soul train is troll train. I guess that could be misconstrued. I didn't put it as well as I should have.
robin February 07, 2014 at 10:15 AM
It doesn't matter what or what not they sell. The customer service is terrible - period. Pharmacy is the worst ever. rite aid is the best.
Shif February 07, 2014 at 11:38 AM
The main reasons are two. 1. To get more customers by appearing more healthy. 2. As anyone in retail will tell u cigs are a pain to carry and sell. Markups are very small and storing them are a problem. Don't believe the hype!
Mack February 07, 2014 at 01:57 PM
@ robin. Agree with you. the pharmacy leaves a lot to be desired. The company that I work for has forced us to use CVS Caremark, no one else. we were good with Walgreens. Gave us the wrong RX. many problems with CVS. Check out the stock prices since this announcement, stock has dropped some. it will be the stock holders and the general public who will decide what will happen to this company, NOT management.
Stephen Kaminski February 09, 2014 at 10:23 AM
Who know they might change there mind in the future like alot of companys do.but no matter what someone will keep selling them.


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