CVS Gets Out of the Cancer Business

Second largest drugstore chain phasing our tobacco products by 10/1/14

By now, the announcement that drugstore chain CVS will stop selling tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco) is old news. The announcement, made at the beginning of February 2014, generated nothing but support and praise. Larry J. Merlo, the president and CEP of CVS Caremark noted that ending the sale of tobacco products is “the right thing to do” and that the sale of these products is inconsistent with the purpose of CVS. Economists estimate that the move will cost the Rhode Island based company about $2 billion in annual revenue.

The CVS announcement not only received praise and publicity from the media, it also was a frequent Facebook post in early February. The announcement was reported in other social media (blogs, etc.) as well, which shows that CVS’s announcement made quite an impact at the personal level. Critics of the move note that people, especially young people vulnerable to the allure of using tobacco products, can still obtain these products relatively easily. They also point out that other unhealthy products, such as candy and alcohol, will still be sold in the drugstore chain. That’s true; however, CVS is demonstrating leadership in the health arena by making the decision to stop selling tobacco products.