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CVS Caremark Set to Remove Cigarette and Tobacco Products from Shelves

CVS Caremark Set to Remove Cigarette and Tobacco Products CVS Caremark Set to Remove Cigarette and Tobacco Products - Image Credit: CNN

CVS Caremark will be pulling all cigarette and tobacco products off its store shelves by October 1st of 2014. The decision was made after CVS Caremark executives began reviewing the goals of the company outside of simply growing revenue. In a press conference held today, CEO Larry Merlo stated that "the sale of cigarettes and tobacco do not fit with our new mission statement. We will be taking steps to ensure we meet the needs of all of our customers by providing smoking cessation products and alternatives."

The company announced today that it will be taking several measures to help its customers quit smoking and included: new signage on CVS Caremark storefronts announcing changes coming October 1st, 2014 - Free Smoking Aversion Therapy for those that wish to quit smoking courtesy of the CVS Caremark Medical Advisory Board - Supplemental Quit Kits available for purchase at $69.99 per kit which contains such items as Nicotine Gum, Nicotine Patches, Nicotine Lozenges and information on how to quit smoking.

The image of the neighborhood pharmacy has grown over the years. Pharmacies are becoming more involved in the overall health of families. Initiatives such as minute clinics established in hundreds of store locations nationwide help encourage customers to participate in better health choices. In a market that seeks to promote health, removing items known to induce cancer and other health concerns makes perfect sense.

This action is unprecedented for a retailer of this size. The decision has been applauded by several medical organizations as well as governmental and non-governmental health groups including the American Cancer Society, the Clean Air Taskforce, and World Health Organization (WHO). WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan stated "this is exactly the kind of action we need to save lives around the world. We hope that other retailers will follow suit." It is not clear how this move away from selling tobacco products will affect CVS Caremark's drug sales revenue but according to an interview with CEO Merlo, "If it means more customers coming into our stores to purchase smoking cessation aids or healthier foods then I think we can look past any potential loss in profit. Our number one goal at CVS Caremark is to improve the health of our customers."

CVS Caremark has further stated that they will adjust their earnings projections after market close on Wednesday, April 30th in light of the announcement.

CVS Caremark Set to Remove Cigarette and Tobacco Products - Image Credit: CNN

In 1965, approximately 42% of the population smoked. By 2014, it had dropped to approximately 19%. This is an impressive achievement. However, despite the fact that fewer individuals smoke than before, smoking is still a major risk to one's health and mortality. Smoking affects virtually every organ in the body including the heart, lungs, nervous system, and reduces life expectancy by about 10 years.

There are methods to help your child quit smoking or avoid taking up the habit in the first place. If you're going to smoke, don't offer them cigarettes. It's tough for children to say no to offers of cigarettes from their friends if they've been used to receiving them freely at home. If your kid smokes, show them love but also make it clear that smoking is a decision they're making that has consequences, not something to take lightly. Tell them about the health hazards of smoking and how it will harm their bodies.

The move to stop stocking shelves with tobacco products is a huge step in the right direction, and even President Obama has taken notice. "As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today's decision will help my administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come", stated President Obama as reported by CNN.

In the end, removing cigarette and tobacco products from the shelves of the neighborhood pharmacy and retailers nationwide, whose goal is helping families achieve healthier lifestyles, is long overdue. The question now becomes will other pharmacies and retailers follow CVS Caremark in this landmark decision. The CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, stated that he hopes other retailers will follow suit. If this is the case, tobacco products could soon be eliminated from the shelves of pharmacies and retailers nationwide.


Written By

Sabrina Daniels
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