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CVS Halts Tobacco Sales Earlier than Anticipated

Sep 9, 2014

CVS Health has reached its goal to stop selling tobacco products about one month earlier than expected. reports that the national pharmacy chain removed all its tobacco products by September 3rd. CVS announced in February that it intended to reach this goal among its nearly 7,700 stores by October 1st.

In the United States, smoking leads to 480,000 deaths each year. It is the leading cause of premature disease and death. Tobacco use has lowered substantially over the past few decades, from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent of the current adult population. This progress seems to have stalled in recent years, however. By removing cigarettes from its shelves, CVS is hoping that the use of tobacco drops once again. “Putting an end to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.” said Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health Troynen A. Brennan.

CVS said it was contradictory to sell cigarettes while positioning themselves as a provider of national health products and services. “Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” said President of CVS/pharmacy Helena B. Foulkes. “The removal of cigarette and other tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.”

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman commended CVS for reaching their goal ahead of schedule. “CVS clearly recognizes the contradiction of having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services consumers’ health care needs.” according to Schneiderman encouraged other major pharmacy chains to follow suit, specifically calling out Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Kroger to stop selling tobacco products immediately.

“As pharmacies increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, they send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products,” Schneiderman said. “The fact that these stores profit from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco must take a backseat to the health of New Yorkers and customers across the country.”

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