CVS Pulls Tobacco Products, Citing Commitment to Healthcare

CVS, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the U.S., announced it will pull all tobacco products from its shelves by October 1 of this year. Citing its commitment to doctors and healthcare, CVS said the removal of cigarettes and other tobacco products will cost them some $2 billion annually at their 7600 stores.

According to statistics, about 18 percent of Americans light up on a regular basis. This is significantly down over the last 50 years, but that number still produces a large number of deaths each year. With every gas station, convenience store and pretty much everywhere in between still selling cigarettes, they clearly aren't going away anytime soon, however.

CVS's stand makes a lot of logical sense if not much financial. Losing $2 billion is a lot and, after all, this is a personal choice. But, kudos to them for sticking to their guns at least on this issue. I'm guessing they aren't bailing on candy, soda or chemical-based beauty products, but it's something.

Smoking has been banned in public places in many U.S. cities. Houston, like virtually all major cities now, has a ban on smoking in government buildings and large public structures like malls and office buildings. Houston also prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants within the city limits.

I've known many people who smoked in my life and have been told the habit can be brutal to break. It is doubtful that having one less drug store chain carry cigarettes will cause a lot of people to suddenly stop as CVS and healthcare officials hope, however, even if they will continue to carry smoking cessation aids.

No word yet on if other pharmacy retailers will follow suit, though Walgreen's is reportedly "evaluating" the situation. CVS did not mention if its ban included e-cigarettes that don't use tobacco.

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