The largest pharmacy chain in the nation is taking a large step in supporting the health and wellness of their customers and employees.
“We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting,” Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark, said.
CVS Caremark announced earlier in February that they will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco related products at more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the United States. The change will take effect Oct. 1, 2014. This will make CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step.
“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark, said. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
Merlo continued, “As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.”
While kicking the smoking habit, CVS will sacrifice $2 billion dollars in sales. CVS hopes to replace some sales through signing up customers to smoking cessation programs, which will be a selling point with potential corporate contracts.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually. While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade. More interventions, such as reducing the availability of cigarettes, are needed.