CVS pulls last of tobacco items a month early, plans name change
CVS plans to announce Wednesday that it has pulled all remaining cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products from each of its 7,700 pharmacies nationwide.
The move to go tobacco-free, coming a month earlier than planned, carries a substantial risk to CVS’ bottom line, but it also holds the potential for a long-term competitive advantage over its peers, particularly Deerfield-based Walgreen Co., the nation’s largest pharmacy retailer.
CVS estimates that it will forgo about $1.5 billion in annual tobacco sales and an additional $500 million in associated purchases from people who visit pharmacies primarily to buy cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
Eliminating tobacco already has helped with some negotiations, he said.CVS, based in Woonsocket, R.I., leads the nation with about 900 walk-in clinics, which are staffed to treat minor ailments, administer vaccines and help patients manage chronic illnesses like hypertension and diabetes.
Like CVS, Walgreen for years has faced criticism from health and advocacy groups over its policy of selling tobacco products. It also is transforming into a more health care-focused company.
“We believe that if the goal is to truly reduce tobacco use in America, then the most effective thing retail pharmacies can do is address the root causes and help smokers quit,” Walgreen said in a statement. “A retail pharmacy ban on tobacco sales would have little to no significant impact on actually reducing the use of tobacco.”
Still, about 18 percent of American adults smoke, a number that hasn’t moved significantly in a decade.Groups including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and American Lung Association praised CVS’ decision and called on other retailers to follow suit.
Londonderry schools placed on lockdown after soldier's unplanned visit to high school causes alarm
Police say woman tried to steal 15 iPads