CVS Caremark To Stop Sale Of Cigarettes: President Obama’s Statement

CVS Caremark Quits CVS Caremark has posted this note on its website from Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark President and CEO:

CVS/pharmacy will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide by October 1, 2014.

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.

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 through our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners. By removing tobacco products from our retail shelves, we will better serve our patients, clients and health care providers while positioning CVS Caremark for future growth as a health care company. Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered. This is the right thing to do.

Here’s Mr. Merlo’s statement on YouTube video:

obama-2/” title=”View all articles about President Obama here”>obama-2/” title=”View all articles about President Obama here”>President Obama, who’s worked tirelessly to pass the Affordable Care Act, and with First Lady Michelle Obama has promoted healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle, applauded the pathbreaking CVS Caremark announcement:

I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores, and begin a national campaign to help millions of Americans quit smoking instead. As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come. I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country

Wow. This is an amazing development and runs counter to the habit of large pharmaceutical retailers of which CVS Caremark is one of them. In the recent past, the common reasoning of pharmaceutical retailers was that by selling cigarettes and tobacco, they were better able to offer to customers advice and products for quitting smoking.

In 2008, then San Francisco Mayor (now California Lieutenant Governor) Gavin Newsom introduced an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of tobacco in most retail stores, with some exceptions. That law passed, but was met with legal and marketing challenges by Philip Morris USA and by Walgreens. Philip Morris USA lost, but Walgreens, which took its case all the way through the appeals process, ultimately won.

But even with that, the law remained in place, and was altered to cover more outlets in 2010. Safeway and Costco balked at it, but ultimately took tobacco off their shelves.

So given that history, you can see how amazing this development is.

Stay tuned.

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