Story by Morgan Gstalter
Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, announced that the company will cease the distribution of cigarettes and tobacco products in store by October 1, 2014.
In a released statement, Merlo cites health reasons being the primary concern for the product reduction saying, “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.
The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”
This was the company’s new move to increase a good reputation as a healthcare provider, hoping to offer more mini-clinics with nurse practitioners and pharmacists offering advice on health care.
It will be a while before those profits catch up to the sale of tobacco, however. According to the New York Times, the company is looking to lose about $2 billion dollars in sales but that is nothing in terms of their $123 billion overall sales profit in 2012.
Pre-pharmacy major Ryan Hannan thinks that the decision is a drastic one and will entice two possible outcomes.
“On one hand, the patients and customers that purchase tobacco products will likely be upset by the change and this could hurt business. However, the majority of patients who don’t use such products, such as myself, might see the decision as a way to push healthcare forward and start a domino effect of more chains and even independent pharmacies stopping the sale of tobacco products,” Hannan said.
While it may upset some customers, the company is persistent on it’s goal to provide healthcare to it’s customers, citing research from the Surgeon General pointing to tobacco as a major contributing factor to 16 million tobacco-related diseases and resulting lung cancer diagnoses for cigarette smokers.