CVS Vows to Quit Selling Tobacco Products

The drugstore chain sees itself as a health care provider and says the sale of cigarettes doesn’t fit that image, even though the company stands to lose $2 billion in sales.

Comments: 198

  1. Walgreens, at least in Chicago, banned tobacco years ago as a result of a campaign a young girl led. i believe it even was done by shareholder vote. slowly, over the years, tobacco snuck back into the stores. i think even alcohol was taken out of some stores. it's back also. good luck, CVS...

  2. But then what abotu the sales of Beer? This is a recent thing I think for Pharmacies and one I also think is a despicable money maker...and finally, what about Oxycontin and all the Sports drinks which have too much caffeine in them? This is a Pandora's Box which is worth waiting for. At least they have taken one step in the right direction.

  3. JHM: Beer is food. Cigarettes are poison.

  4. "But then what about the sales of Beer... what about Oxycontin...?"

    First, ummm... in case you were not aware, OxyContin is a prescription drug.
    Pharmacies sell those. That's their job.

    As far as beer, you may also not be aware, but selling alcohol is the way that most of these major pharmacy chains (such as, specifically, Walgreen's) made their fortunes, since, during Prohibition, alcohol was permitted only when prescribed by a physician, and therefore, obviously, was only available from pharmacies.

  5. Well, I now know where I'm going to buy my next toothbrush. Good on CVS.

  6. Bravo! A bold move to enhance their branding. I intend to vote with my feet and go to CVS when I need drug store products. I wonder if Rite Aid, Walgreen's and other competitors will follow suit.

  7. What about Duane Reade? They have cigarettes on prominent display at checkout.

  8. Duane Reade is owned by Walgreen's - until the company incorporates the same policy, or the city sends butts the way of large sodas, those displays will likely remain prominent.

  9. Impressive decision for which CVS deserves major accolades. This is a company truly in touch with it's vision and mission statement. I am proud to have CVS at the core of my network of health care providers.

  10. WOW - I'm going to go out of my way to shop at CVS from now on.
    I suggest any of you who are reading this response to the news
    join me. This is outstanding news.

  11. I hear you! My new Pharmacy-CVS

  12. I agree. My new pharmacy is CVS!

  13. I shall also make it a point to shop CVS rather than the competing pharmacies. I think CVS already knew it would probably gain sales by prohibiting sales of tobacco products and focusing on keeping customers healthy, but it was still an innovative and smart move.

  14. Unless I'm missing something, or some angle to the story has been left out, this sounds like news worth celebrating.

  15. This takes serious financial guts. Bravo!

  16. Not only serious financial guts...a commitment to a profit-of-a-different kind:a potential metric for healthier humans....Good show CVS!

  17. Three cheers for CVS. Finally a corporation chooses to do what is right, not ehat is most profitable. CVS/Caremark should be commended for this courageous decision.

  18. It is what is most profitable (in the long run). As the article states; the company is moving towards health care and have to eliminate signs of contradiction. The move just so happens to be what is right.

  19. To RDS,
    Might I suggest that those in control of CVS have calculated that there is more long-term profit in expanding into quasi-health clinics and selling cigarettes is incompatible with their new marketing campaign (which hit a high point already with an article on the front page of the NYT)?

  20. I don't feel that CVS did this to do what is right, but perhaps I'm just cynical. My experience over the years with CVS is that their service is spotty at best; their calls re: prescription refills are not reliable; their sales are no where near as good as they used to be; and I find it annoying to waste paper in the red machine in store to print out coupons. They've done a great PR, but out of concern for the health of customers? I doubt it.

  21. CVS just got a new customer, me! Smart move.

  22. Bravo for CVS! Could it be that a business takes its fundamental mission -- delivering health care products, in this case -- seriously, even at the cost of sales???

    How many times have I marveled at grocery stores that sell poison (tobacco) alongside food, and wondered: how many other products on their shelves are equally poisonous? Notably, in this category, Whole Foods does not sell tobacco, which underscores their image as an informed buying agent that pays attention to -- possibly even cares about, to,the extent that institutions can be said to "care" -- about the qualities of products it sells for people to ingest.

    Selling tobacco products broadcasts a message: "We'll sell anything, anything at all, if there's a profit to be had. Caveat emptor when you enter this store!"

  23. All true - but is the local wine shop also guilty of selling poison? I'm fairly confident that liquor is as much of a poison and has cause as much illness as tobacco.

    From a former smoker and current drinker.

  24. BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: Open a tobacco shop near every CVS

  25. Re: "I'm fairly confident that liquor is as much of a poison and has cause as much illness as tobacco."

    You may be confident of that, but it's been repeatedly proven not to be true. Wine in modest quantities is actually good for you. Cigarettes, on the other hand, are deadly.

  26. As a Physician Assistant that sees and treats patients with the horrible morbidities related to smoking, I think this is a landmark move by CVS. and they should be lauded for their decision. Now, if we can get other businesses to follow suit, THAT would be something to celebrate.

  27. Juar in time to phase in sales of legal pot.

  28. That 'Juar' should have been 'just'. I notice also a great many posts decry that CVS will continue to sell junk food. But how else will they cater to the thousands of customers with munchies?

  29. How this "product" stays on the market is shameful. No other product, when used as instructed or "correctly," causes serious disease and death.

    In the vacuum of governmental courage and responsibility in banning the production and sale of cigarettes, CVS steps up and demonstrates remarkably laudable ethics. I will shop there more often as a result.

  30. Fabulous. I am a CVS customer for life. Got to reward courage.

  31. Bravo CVS! This is exactly what is needed to help young people never start smoking! And for adult smokers, maybe making it harder to pick up a pack, will make them think again about continuing to smoke. A very very hard habit to kick once started; I am totally sympathetic!

  32. Well done CVS, you can count on my business in the future.

  33. Great and wise customer business decision in my view. That's why I'll shop there as often as I can. Thanks.

  34. This exciting announcement illustrates the important role private industry can play in protecting public health. I hope this step encourages other retailers to use community health standards, and not just profits, in determining what products their retail outlets will and will not carry. Hopefully, the intent stated by consumers to patronize stores that show concern for public health will mitigate profitability concerns.

  35. OK, no more cigarettes. Good move, and long overdue. But what about the aisles and aisles of junk food available at drug stores? Fill your cart with Snickers and chips and Oreos and canned soda and then go pick up your insulin?
    We're not there yet, CVS. Or Rite Aid. Or any of the others.

  36. But they have taken a first step that needs to be applauded.

  37. I agree. No store should sell any food but carrots and broccoli. Customers cannot be allowed make any decisions about what they choose to eat and drink. They might occasionally choose something they actually enjoy eating and this cannot be allowed!

  38. I agree, junk food can be detrimental for a person's health, especially if over-indulged. But I see tobacco products in a much different light - absolutely destructive in so many ways to everyone's health, from various types of cancers to emphysema and other breathing problems, possible mental health issues, not to mention financial cost; there are no beneficial aspects to using tobacco in any imaginable way, and the habit-forming attraction caused by nicotine that is commonly known, but disgustingly denied by the lying, criminal corporations. Congratulations on a mature act, CVS.

  39. as a "health care provider" which believes that selling tobacco products is "hypocritical," will cvs please stop selling its aisles of candy, processed food, and junk food, too?

  40. I've always marveled out how "healthy" pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens had both sides of the market cornered. They would sell you whatever prescription or over the counter medicine that you would need, and they would also sell you cigarettes, candy, soda, etc. to get you sick again and hence, need a return visit to the pharmacy. Ingenious.

    Let's hope that CVS goes one step further and starts filtering out the junk food. After all, obesity kills more than smoking.

  41. Agree that the junk food is still an issue, but smoking (including direct and indirect effects) still kills more than obesity (~400k vs ~300k, according to US Gov stats)

  42. It looks like you got your stats from the surgeon general's report. However, I received my information from the American Journal of Public Health, which pegged the number of premature deaths caused by obesity at 450,000 per year. Their study suggests that the U.S. government is going with a lower estimate, perhaps because the Centers for Disease Control does not list obesity as a cause of death.

    I could have been more measured in my words, and for that I apologize. But the scope of obesity in America seems to not merit the amount of cause for concern it deserves, as 1/3 of American adults are obese, as compared to the 1/5 who smoke cigarettes.

  43. Great news! Now let's get rid of the soda and the sugary snacks!

  44. Anytime a company makes a PR move my cynical side kicks-in and says they're just doing it for the money.
    Even if that's the case, way to go CVS! So much easier it will be for parents to take their children through the checkout without the rows of cigarettes behind the cashier.
    A sensible decision and one that will no doubt bring more health-conscious and family-oriented customers through the doors.

  45. I find it remarkable and commendable that a company would give up 2 billion in sales on principle.

    Contrast this with Papa Johns who lays off workers in protest against the ACA and companies, like Amazon, who support ALEC, for their own selfish reasons, and don't care that ALEC's negative agenda reaches beyond the issue that these companies support.

    Good for you CVS!

  46. I would walk a mile to some other pizza joint rather than eat at Papa John's if it were right across the street, because of Papa John's arrogant treatment of its workers. Yes, America, we can vote with our feet too.

  47. Diana Holdsworth, thank you for the update. I like buying from Amazon, but was reevaluating after the news that Bezos was a contributor. Googling the latest, confirms your comment. Thanks again!

  48. This is a really good start. It never made sense that pharmacies carried cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food. Getting rid of the cigarettes is long overdue. Great news.

  49. Never thought i'd live to see this happy day. CVS, you not only have a new customer, but also a new investor!

  50. Why is it taking CVS 6 MONTHS to do something it took us TWO WEEKS to do in 1979? My pharmacy not only quit selling tobacco products, we burned the tobacco products we had.

    While I congratulate CVS on on this action, I wonder why is it taking so long to implement?

    Will they have a "going out of business" sale for the remainder of the tobacco products they have in stock?

    Now, let's see how long it takes Walgreens to own up to their slogan of being " On the corner of happy and HEALTHY?"

  51. It sounds as if you had one pharmacy to run as you called it "your" pharmacy.
    CVS is a huge corporation with as many as 4-5 stores in even moderate size towns such as mine. It takes a great deal of preparation and effort to begin to do what must be done and it cannot be done as easily as it would be with one owner and one building.

  52. Did you have over 7000 stores, a Board of Directors and shareholders to convince, and long term contracts with suppliers?

  53. They probably had to deal with their shareholders, unlike your pharmacy.

  54. I applaud CVS for providing health care and for helping decrease the availability of products that are inconsistent with good health.
    HOWEVER: many many smokers use tobacco for mental health reasons. Nicotine is a psychoactive drug. It lessens depression and anxiety. It provides some protection from the flashbacks of PTSD, It helps prevent or treat the hallucinations and paranoia of Schizophrenia. Schizophrenics often smoke heavily in order to feel better. Nicotine needs to be treated as a drug. It's not just a matter of will power. I've had patients tell me they would go crazy if they couldn't smoke, or they wouldn't be able to maintain their marriage, etc.
    We need to try to prevent mental illness.
    There are at least three known causes of mental illness: traumatic brain injury, childhood abuse and neglect, and severe trauma at any age. I would like to see a nation-wide information campaign about TBI. Everyone, especially parents need to know 4 things about TBI. Helmets do not protect the brain because the brain is only lightly attached inside the skull and on impact the brain slams against the inside of the skull and breaks itself. TBI can cause mental illness.
    Modern medicine cannot fix broken connections inside the brain due to TBI. TBI can cause learning disabilities like attention problems and sensory integration problems. I applaud parents who deny their children sports with high risk of TBI.

  55. It also provides a person dealing with
    mental maladies a break during the day in which that person assumes control of their mental state, can socialize in a low stress setting, consciously or subconsciously regulates their breathing, and gets a 5-10 minute ritual that feels good. While the longterm physical costs are staggering, tobacco provides (very) short term benefits.

  56. Interesting comment, I believe that's true about smoking as an outlet for anxiety and stress. I wonder if xanax and similar pills are more lethal than cigarettes.
    Whatever, I simply can't find it a charitable act that CVS is giving up selling cigarettes; they've simply decided to go down the "healthcare" road ...that's where the money is...we'll see how they do.

  57. I agree with this decision and hope that other drug stores will follow. Either you are a business that helps human health or you are not. If enough people switch their business to CVS the other stores will follow this lead.

  58. CVS: You have my business. I will bypass the Walgreens and Duane Reades near me and shop at your stores. Thank you so much.

  59. Commendable move. Place big signs in the stores to educate those who come in for their tobacco. Each repeat helps save lives. Will soda go next?

  60. Thank you CVS! I do not smoke, but I have lost many relatives to smoking-related illnesses. I already shop at CVS fairly often, but I will make a point of shopping there more frequently.

  61. It's about time retailers took the initiative.
    Lung cancer is real. Anybody who works with Hospice or is in the undertaking business would tell you that.
    Sad to see so many good people meet an early death. And their loss impacts their loved ones for years. People don't come back from the grave.
    We should make it our business then to help smokers quit -- despite their own abandon.
    Maybe they can't help themselves.

  62. Awesome! Way to go CVS. I always thought it odd to see cigarettes in a drug store - sort of like trying to create demand. Hope others follow this lead.

  63. I am old enough to remember when lung cancer was rare. We would make rounds on this new type of cancer.

    Then the tobacco industry went full speed ahead putting more and more carcinogenic chemicals into tobacco products and a free ride from the FDA.

    Today more women die of lung cancer than breast cancer....Yes that's right! We see pink products everywhere but lung cancer isn't mentioned. What would be the appropriate color for lung cancer awareness? Brown?

  64. Maybe, in addition to cutting off their (smokers) supply, we should just force them to quit "cold turkey."

  65. Another example of corporations stepping up to the plate to advance the common good. I applaud this decision by the CVS Board of Directors. Hopefully other corporations will follow their lead. Walmart are you listening?

  66. A good move, which I am sure CVS believes will bring them even greater profits in the long run. Now, how about eliminating the sales of chips and pop, which is also inconsistent with the image of a health care provider. CVS probably devotes more square footage to junk food than they do to the pharmacy. And I trust that CVS is keeping a sharp eye out for the over-consumption of dangerous anti-psychotic and anti-depressant drugs.

  67. I work in a large hospital. Thankfully our onsite pharmacy doesn't sell cigarettes, but you can buy any kind of junk food under the sun. One day I hurt my knee and went in to buy an Ace bandage. No luck! I guess it's more important to supply patients with potato chips. Maybe CVS will get rid of junk food next. (Doubtful.)

  68. Dangerous antipsychotics and antidepressants? Ha. As a psychiatrist, the only thing dangerous is patients needing these drugs and NOT taking them

  69. Of course you can't buy a bandage in the hospital pharmacy, Not a Victim! If anyone could just walk in there and buy one, how could they steer you to the ER and charge you $150 for it?

  70. I will use CVS exclusively for my medicines. Let us speak with our actions and reward them for their courage.

  71. That is excellent!! May Walgreens & the others follow suit soon!

  72. What a terrific decision. This news hopefully will set the tone for other retailers to do the same.
    CVS has made the bold move that others are afraid to.
    next, would be to stop selling guns.

  73. This is a great day for CVS showing the guts to do the best thing for the health of their customers over $$$$.

  74. More marketing and hype. You can still get your sugar and processed food fix there easily.

  75. Yeah. And some people get their prescription painkillers there. Often, they end up in the hands of kids.

  76. ...and thus it is written, "every silver lining is attached to a dark cloud."

  77. Just 'cause it ain't perfect doesn't mean it ain't good.

  78. Bravo CVS! What a terrific and courageous decision!

  79. CVS still fails to impress. Poor customer service. Underpaid and under trained pharmacy techs instead of real pharmacists. Dirty stores. Uncaring and indifferent staff. I don't shop at CVS if I can help it. This will just be one more reason to never go there.

  80. I get the feeling that the poor customer service, under-trained pharmacy techs, dirty stores and indifferent staff didn't bother you until you couldn't buy cigarettes there.

  81. They just got this customer. Now what about sugary things, then steaks and chops

  82. Great decision by CVS. May other retailers follow and stop peddling this deadly product.

    Not sure why the NYT chose to run what is essentially a free ad for Marlboro products along with the article.

  83. Kudos to CVS. This is both a smart branding decision and the right thing to do. To those who cavil that the chain will still sell candy and soda, so do hospital gift shops. These goods do not cause addiction and may be enjoyed in moderation.

  84. I wonder what Rush Limbaugh and his clones along with the Tea Party and Fox News will come up with to criticize CVS' decision.

    I'm sure they will call it bullying from busy-body liberals to regulate the free enterprise system and end capitalism as we know it. And, of course, they will blame Obama.

  85. Actually it IS Obama's fault. If, in his State of the Union Message, he hadn't asked businesses to voluntarily increase the minimum wage to $10.10, all these corporations wouldn't be falling all over themselves to do the right and ethical thing, like not selling poisonous products in drug stores. The Tea Party should be outraged; when Americans are healthy and wealthy that's bad for Republicans.

  86. Congrats CVS! This is a courageous move and a firm step into the future!

  87. Not to mention their minute-clinic model which is fabulous.

    I'm one of those people who doesn't visit the doctor more than every few years, preferring aspirin, soup and sleep as a cure for most ills. (And fortunate, I know, knock on wood.) Therefore, weI have only the barest relationship with a primary care practice; it's the big one around here & inconveniently seven or eight miles away in an exurban complex.

    In late Dec. my companion and I started exhibiting flu symptoms; by New Year's Eve we were miserable enough to head to the CVS minute-clinic half a mile down the road. What a rational model of care and business! Sign-in sheet, very competent nurse practitioner, quick culture, verdict: Influenza A. Present Blue Cross card, no paperwork, she relayed the Rx to the pharmacy counter 15 feet away and within 45 minutes of leaving home we were back snuggled in robes and lounging attire, codeine-laced cough syrup in hand and the information we needed to make decisions about contagion/work and travel for the next few days. My insurer was charged $89 and my co-pay was $20; the generic Rx was fully covered but would've been about $12 without insurance, the pharmacist said.

    Imagine the time and money that could be saved if such clinics were more widely available to the people who now use ER for non-life-threatening conditions and complaints. We were very impressed and I think CVS is really on to something in adopting a convenience-store model of health care provision.

  88. Do yourselves a favor next year and get a flu shot.

  89. I did get a flu shot. For the first time, at the behest of my employer and peers. And this is the first year in memory I've had any sort of winter illness; never had the flu before as an adult. And today I have a bad cold, again for the first time in about a decade.

    Makes you wonder.

  90. I think this is what they call a mitzvah.

  91. Unless Walgreens comes out with a similar program in the next weeks, I will also start going to CVS exclusively. This is a great move for the country.

    Next: sugary drinks.

  92. Missing the big picture, this is not a good thing peeps.

  93. My local pharmacist has never sold cigarettes, doesn't blight the landscape by building a new store next to every Walgreens or CVS opens, carries a few things you'd never find in a Walgreens or a CVS because there is a local demand for it, and

    I'm glad that CVS has come to its senses on selling cigarettes, but I'll stick with my policy of not setting foot in either CVS or Walgreens unless I absolutely have to.

  94. I'm pretty sure CVS was smart enough to know that the profits they would lose in not selling tobacco products, would be made up with customers, like you, who will bring their business because of best business practices. I applaud them, whatever the reason.

  95. A little bit of my cynicism and loathing of corporate America was just chipped away.

  96. Almost 100 years ago one of the truly great marketing decisions was America's 'doughboys' free cigarettes as they left for and were in the killing fields of France...thus addicting most of the fighting men to cigarettes for the rest of their lives (my grandfather lived into the 1960's smoking up to the day he died). Half a generation later, another truly great marketing campaign was successfully launched - changing public opinion to make it socially acceptable for women to smoke cigarettes (indoors only but) outside the home (my mother died in her 80's, smoking to the next to her last day). Fast forward 100 years and its verses of The Cigarettes Swan Song that are fashionable... "You've come a long way baby" in your ups and, at long last, downs...

    Good luck with the financial gambit CVS...may it be, at its very worst, no less than net earnings neutral...

  97. INCREDIBLE! You have a lifelong customer in me. This is one of the best long-term corporate strategies employed by a company of this caliber in a long time. I hope they market this news to death and re-coup the $2B tenfold.

  98. This is a great move on the part of CVS. I've often wondered about the cigs for sale as I waited in line and looked at them all lined up and ready to go behind the cashiers.

    I will still NOT be shopping there.

    At my local CVS, the pharmacists are so overworked and stressed out. One pharmacist shared with me that she is concerned it is just a matter of time before someone gets the wrong medicine due to the high demands on them to get as many scripts out every day.

    That's what is pushing profits, folks.

  99. That's exactly right. Living in a area of queens where the majority of businesses are mom and pop, we do get our occasional corporations. When CVS opened shop here they installed self check out machines and hired maybe 2 cashiers to man the front checkout whom where never readily available because they were overwhelmed with assisting costumers on the floor. My first thoughts are now those 2 jobs they did provide will soon be cut since cigs are sold at the cashier's counter and no longer need to be controlled. Those salaries most likely outweigh the profits of the sales when you include healthcare, sick, vaca pay etc.

    So when people complain that folks need to stop using taxes to pay their unemployment their attention should be directed towards the corporations who are not providing jobs to inflate the CEO's bonus, not the poor sap trying to make ends meet.

    Excluding cigs are better for the community you say? The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District has launched a street tree initiative to improve the streetscape in the Sunnyside commercial district. Out of the handful of corporations in our community, ING, Burger King, CVS, Capital One, Chase, WhiteCastle, Mcdonalds and Wendys. Only two sponsored the project. White Castle and Pickman Realty (a local business owner).

    It's ALL about profits. Their investment in a great marketing team however, is definitely paying off.

  100. Well, well congratulations to these folks at CVS. There is a big big BUT .....looming here. Have you ever picked up an advertising circular from a chain drugstore contained in your print edition of the local Sunday paper ? Usually the first 3 or 4 pages have nothing but ads for sweets, soda, beer. chips and candy products and oh yes maybe a buy one get one free ad for vitamins ! So I am sure they will "offset" the revenue loss by selling more of this stuff and advertising it more !

  101. Maybe the spirit of Pete Seeger inspired them. He quit singing with The Weavers on principle when they signed a contract to advertise Lucky Strikes cigarettes.

    His short-term loss turned into a long-term gain. Both decisions are the right ones, whatever the reason behind them.

  102. I like CVS.
    Wish there were more of them here, in Manhattan. Seems every other corner is a Duane Reade, which has practically established a monopoly in the city with its over priced products and meager point system. CVS's prices are more competitive and now that they are doing a real public service - I'll go out of my way to patronize CVS.

  103. In order to be consistent, perhaps it's also time for CVS to eliminate the sale of processed packaged foods, snacks, chips, candy and all the other unhealthy products they sell. I doubt this will happen soon so the move seems a bit hypocritical to me. If they're really into the health of their customers - those food aisles need a serious evaluation and makeover.

  104. Amen. While I usually go to Walgreens, I'll switch some buys to CVS!

  105. I am, unfortunately, a smoker. I also dislike CVS (and other large chain pharmacies) for the impact they have had on locally owned/operated pharmacies. All that being said, this is a great decision and should be applauded. In this day and age it is unheard of for a large corporation to make a decision based on the "public good" despite a negative impact on the all important bottom line. I am now willing to shop at CVS. I may even buy CVS stock just to show support for this decision. Although it is, I fear, a forlorn hope, it would be nice to see some of our other corporate "persons" make similar principled decisions even though it costs them money and "shareholder value."

  106. I think it is very BIG of you as a smoker to applaud this decision. I wish the entire world would do the same. I long for a world without pain and suffering. Without the sickness and death that Smoking causes. Remember, the smoker not only affects themselves but their loved ones have to suffer their loss, not to mention 2nd hand smoke as well.

  107. @TCaldwell
    "I am, unfortunately, a smoker."

    Smoking is NOT an incurable disease. You have an addiction. Stop before it turns into a very real stage 4 cancer. Please.

  108. I would give anything to quit smoking. I asked my doctor about rehab for nicotine addiction -- they have rehab for alcohol and drugs -- is nicotine not one of the most insidious? She told me there are a few but they are not covered by health care plans and cost thousands. While heroine or cocaine withdrawal symptoms may be more intense, nicotine withdrawal symptoms follow a similar pattern. Where is the help for people like me? Nicotine addiction is just as serious as addiction to any other drug.

  109. Goodbye Walgreens, hello CVS!

  110. CVS is treading on Walgreen's motto, "the corner of happy and healthy", and wants to be called "the corner of happier and healthier".

  111. I once worked in a small CVS in a small New England town. Over the years as a steady customer of the large CVS in my now rather large town, I cannot think of anything that CVS could possibly do that would show they really do care about their customers.
    There are a few naysayers who would think that they should also stop carrying foods that are labeled "junk foods." However, three members of my family did not die from eating junk food, but they did die from having been smokers. I prefer half a loaf to none.

  112. All things that I need that can be purchased at CVS will be purchased at CVS.

  113. Thank you, CVS! No question: CVS is now my drugstore.

    Attention, all of you other retailers and gas stations: when I have options to shop where they DO NOT sell cigarettes, e-cigs, or other tobacco products, those stores ARE where I shop!

    Costco, that means you and your e-cigs aren't welcome in my family.

  114. This certainly makes sense. Let's hope other pharmacies follow suit.

  115. My pharmacy, Target, did this years ago. It is simply corporate
    responsibility at work.

  116. Excellent move. Now lets take the next steps.

    Stop paying the CEO millions of dollars, go back to reasonable salaries for all executives and use your influence to lobby the government to be the sole supplier of prescription drugs.

    The former addresses inequality the latter will save many more lives.

  117. While smoking is certainly a disgusting and unhealthy's a silly decision...what, are they going to stop selling candy as well...the latest news just stated that sugar is an extremely deadly substance as well...and all the processed food and cookies they sell...gone I hope..

  118. What a brilliant piece of PR. CVS cuts its inventory stocking costs by $100 million and makes this sacrifice because it is a healthcare provided. Absolutely Brilliant.

    When they cut the three full isles of candy, junk food and soda (all of which have much higher margins than cigarettes), I'll give then Kudos.

  119. Something tells me they'll never quite be able to satisfy you. Gee, can't we applaud them for starting with the worst product in the store?

  120. BRAVO!

  121. Are those who oppose CVS's decision somehow concerned this tramples on their constitutional rights? C'mon, man ... companies are free to sell anything they choose to sell or not sell . If you want to buy cigarettes, walk next door to CVS's neighboring business and buy a pack. If you want a case of beer to go with the smokes, don't bother walking into your health care provider's office to make that purchase ... c'mon, man!

  122. OK, when will they stop selling candy bars, salty snacks, sugary sodas and all of the other harmful things their customers might buy? All this will means is that customers will simply go somewhere else to buy their tobacco and if it is eventually banned it will just become an underground cash crop. What have we learned about various kinds of prohibition? If the desire is there human beings will find a way to satisfy it. This is little more than a public relations gimmick to please to please the anti-tobacco lobby.
    There's no argument here that tobacco is not good for people, by the way, only that people need to make this decision for themselves.

  123. There is a greater concept here-and to liken cigarettes and tobacco products to candy, salty snacks,sugary sodas, et. al. is at best silly; at worst disingenuous.
    If the chain is looking at 'little more than a public relations gimmick', Bless them for that! Whatever the reason, the result is wonderful!
    Keep those poison sticks out of as many retail locations as possible. Keep those cancer causing, addictive products away from our young people. Maintain healthy outlooks in any manner possible.

  124. It may be good P.R. but regardless, CVS is right. It is hypocritical for a drugstore to sell a product that by its very design, causes the body to deteriorate, even when taken in small doses. The same cannot be said about the occasional candy or soda.

  125. Look, as others have posted numerous times, CVS is a corporation and not a government agency. "It" has decided, for whatever reason, that it will no longer sell tobacco products. It has not been forced to do so by any government agency. You, as a consumer have the right to shop elsewhere if you disagree with its business decision. That is YOUR right. Public relations gimmick? Probably, corporations are not known for "acting" in the best interest of the public unless it increases their bottom line.

    Will other retail companies follow suit in the future, maybe, but that will be determined by consumers.

    And let's face it, many of the government-imposed restrictions that have come about related to smoking in public places would never have gotten a foothold if the majority of the US public weren't in favor of those restrictions. So, "what have we learned about various kinds of prohibition?" That if the majority of our citizens oppose restrictions on any product--and make their voices heard loud and clear--a prohibition on any good or service will end (even if it has the potential to kill people--no one said this kind of thing is always based on rational decisions). It may take time but it invariably happens.

  126. As a non smoker I welcome this move. As a customer who believes in free market, this concerns me.

    What if another retailer imposes similar decisions and bans carrying "women's and men contraception or Morning After Pill" on some crazy religious ground, will the same group of readers applaud ?

    Countries in the Muslim world ban certain products and medicines as they have Jewish Business connections.

    China and most of Africa ban newspapers and periodicals as they deem "free speech and thought" as bad for individuals.

    CVS is doing no different than what Bloomberg wanted to do with sugary drinks.

    Education and personal responsibility should replace restriction and suppression.

  127. This is free market forces dictating what they carry. People are smoking less so they have a smaller demand to provide cigarettes to. Cigarettes are commodity products with likely tiny margins for retailers. A big part of the purchase price are duties and taxes. They are happy to eliminate one massive part of their distribution costs without much loss in bottom line. If, in six months, they see massive profit losses because of this, they were surely reconsider putting it back.

  128. If you are really a "customer who believes in free market," then you should be applauding the CVS move with the rest of us. No government regulation forced CVS to drop cigarettes. They made the decision entirely on their own.

    In a world with billions of product choices, every retailer has to choose a narrow selection of products to carry. Customers, in turn, are free to choose where they spend their money. This is the very essence of a free market.

  129. Really. Are you familiar with the Chinese newspaper scene? My not-too-big city in China (only 7 million) has at least 10 daily newspapers. Street stands are everywhere carrying numerous newspapers and vast numbers of magazines (many Chinese language versions of US and European magazines: such as Cosmo). I see Chinese people huddled over newspapers everywhere. And I can buy English-language copies of Int NYT and USA in several places.
    Now, of course, it is quite another discussion as to what is carried in those Chinese-language newspapers.

  130. I see a lot of comments encouraging CVS to next ban soda, chips, and other junk foods. I do not agree with this as tobacco is deadly to user and bystanders and addictive in even small doses while junk food in moderation is not proven to be harmful or addictive. Junk food consumption in excess is not good. But let's not turn the world into a place where we cannot even choose our food.

  131. Cheese puffs and blue soda aren't food. And in any event, you could still buy them at the local 7-11. Nobody's liberty is at stake here. Only their health.

  132. That's not true, just yesterday I think it was there was another story in the news saying if you have one can of soda a day, you increase your chance of a heart attack by 33%.

  133. Mark, when the producers and manufacturers of such foods allow it to be labeled as to contents, then maybe I'll agree with you on this.

  134. A great move. Thank you, CVS.

  135. congratulationsmoving my scripts to CVS

  136. May we please hope that soda and junk food will be next eliminated from the selves of this concerned health provider and advocate. This would really take a big bite out of the unhealthy practices of our wonderful country and help fight obesity and hypertension.

  137. Is anyone else reminded of Don Draper's open letter in Mad Men? this is a PR move.

  138. Who cares what it is? It's sending a message loud and clear, and I suspect other major chains will follow suit. As those us of us in public health know - it's all about a "nudge" in the right direction. Bravo CVS, whatever your motivations.

  139. true but if it helps the horrendous problem of new smokers and translates into other companies following suit that would be such a bad thing. Motivation may not be so important when looking at the big picture.

  140. This is probably a huge win for CVS. There's no science behind my observations, but I suspect shrinkage will decline, the stores/parking areas will be cleaner, and there will be a more physically attractive customer base.

  141. They still sell fattening foods so I wouldn't get my hopes up.

  142. So with this $2B "loss" in revenue, what will CVS do to make it up? Will they cut the salaries of their overpaid executives, or will they cut the salaries of their front-of-the-store employees who are paid slightly above minimum wage?
    And I'm guessing CVS will be raising prices on many items to make up the difference too.

  143. Hats off to CVS! This looks like the beginning of a new era. I can't wait to see which retailer is next.

  144. Wow. Nice move CVS.

  145. I am already a CVS customer but usually only for prescriptions. I will now purchase everything I can at CVS. Other retailers, not just pharmacies, should pay attention to this move. Hope this is the first domino!

  146. Boston has prohibited the sale of cigarettes in drugstores for a few years now with no repercussions. For those who want them, they are still widely available. A single pack with taxes runs approximately $10 - an expensive habit on many fronts.

  147. Way to go CVS! That's where I buy my prescriptions. By the way, Wegman's stopped selling cigarettes in 2008 or 09.

  148. CVS should next ban the selling of certain drugs from their pharmacy. People get hooked on that.

  149. Come to me Walmart , my baby.

  150. Bravo. There are times, and this is one, where profits take a back seat to the health and well-being of your clientele. Sure, their customers can go a hundred other places, most of them within walking distance, to get their fix, but someone has to be the first to draw a line in the sand. The fact that CVS is a major player makes their decision even more meaningful.

  151. Kudos to CVS for putting its power to be a solution to one of the world's greatest health scourges before its drive for profits!

  152. Philip Morris just scored a huge ad in the NY Times, disguised as an illustration for this story! And it was free!

    Good move, NYT.

  153. Ontario (a province of Canada) banned sales of cigarettes and tobacco products some twenty years ago. As a U.S. citizen who has lived in Canada (and whose family has enjoyed the single-payer system here without problem) for almost 40 years, once again I cringe at the neanderthal profit-driven mentality of the land of my birth. And, who have been the shareholders of CVS Caremark all these years, demanding and reaping the profits? How many university endowment and pension funds? No moral leadership in sight.

  154. Yet they will still sell alcohol. Good looking out CVS

  155. CVS, you've just earned a lifelong customer! You are blazing a trail of untold proportion. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  156. Only it took 50 years since the surgeon general of US declared about the ills of smoking that participant of health care industry coming to the terms!. Hope others will forfeit the profits and work for better for all

  157. A new leader?

  158. Can't wait until Fox News decries this move as another step in the "feminization" of our country.

  159. Not all we need is for Walmart to stop selling bullets!

  160. Delighted to see CVS get out of the murder by tobacco business.

  161. I hate it when the liberals impose their religion on the rest of us.

  162. Wow, just wow. Religion doesn't make you cough your lungs up, tobacco does

  163. Nobody forced them to stop selling cigarettes.

  164. This is the free market in action. Senior citizens spend a lot of money and time while waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. They will spend more of their money and feel more comfortable if the store does not attract the demographic of cigarette smokers. It's that simple.

    If CVS gave a damn about health over profits, the best place to start would be the Doritos, Soda and chocolate.

  165. Both of my mother's parents and many other relatives of mine died of lung cancer, sometimes years after they quit smoking. I hate seeing tobacco behind "health care" counters. CVS just earned the loyalty of another customer.

  166. I switched to CVS when AETNA broke ties with Walgreens. I have been very happy with CVS. Good for them. Please give them your business.

  167. Bravo CVS!!!
    I will soon be using that chain EXCLUSIVELY for all of my prescriptions and any other items that I would use that type of store for.
    Nicely Done, CVS, Nicely Done.

  168. There is a world of difference between cigarettes and tobacco products on the one hand and junk food and sodas on the other. Small amounts of junk food and soda aren't harmful. ANY amount of tobacco products is harmful. Tobacco products are the only products that if used as directed result in the death of the purchaser.

    I think CVS is making a smart move. I think they decided someone was going to do it, and it might as well be them, and first. I'll still shop for prescriptions by price, but I think the leaders at CVS have made a shrewd assessment of the market and decided that they had more to gain than to lose. And, as a physician, I applaud their decision. Time will show that they are on the right side of history.

  169. Actually, about the junk food. Whatever you eat is either good for you, or it isn't. There's no "not harmful in moderation" middle ground.

  170. Good for them, and a brave choice. It's about time a retailer with major clout stood up to Big Tobacco.

  171. I am a CVS stockholder. I am very pleased that CVS has put health and morality ahead of profits. I hope other retailers will follow suit.

  172. Hoping that CVS gets a bump in revenue from doing the right thing here. Although the almighty marketplace defines bottom lines, I'd like to think there is a place for good conscience in our big bigger biggest corporations. I'm a Costco shopper because they pay a reasonable wage, and now CVS has won my business. In an age where congress does nothing, it's good to see a corporation stepping up- may the rewards of such behavior encourage others. And while we're dreaming impossible dreams, can we think about taking automatic weapons off the shelves of some of the stores where families shop?

  173. Although I bought the majority of my cigarettes there when I was a smoker, I always sniggered at the irony of a pharmacy selling such a carcinogenic product. This move makes sense, if not cents!

  174. My mother just died of lung cancer. I commend CVS, and will do all my shopping there.

  175. If you do you will pay a lot more for practically everything than you would at Costco and many similar outlets.

  176. When I worked in a pharmacy at the age of 21 I asked the pharmacist how he could justify selling "health" and cigarettes at the same counter. I think the answer had something to do with MONEY.
    Now if only CBS (and others) would stop advertising electronic cigarettes before we find out how deadly they really are.
    But Bravo! to CVS. It is time that we should all ask our local pharmacies to follow suit.

  177. Hurray for a company that has taken to heart and pocketbook the inherent contradiction in
    its mission as pharmacy to help people be well while it sells items that make people sick. Not to belittle their efforts but if they now could move on to the candy shelves......

  178. I applaud CVS for doing the right thing. However it's also business common sense 101: don't murder your customers. I wonder how much additional money CVS will make in 20, 30, 40 years from all the customers not dead from cigarettes. Lifespans are continually increasing, so a loyal customer prematurely killed by tobacco might also mean CVS would lose out on a few decades of sales from them, including lucrative prescriptions for senior citizens.

  179. I intend to spend a lot more money at CVS from now on. I applaud their brave, ethical decision--so rare in corporate America for a company to sacrifice profits

  180. I will make it a point to support retailers like CVS who are making a stand towards health! THANK YOU! Thanks to the public health people who have been advocating for changes to how tobacco products are available for a long time, for example, The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

  181. Finally…a medical corporation realizes there are more profits in wellness than in the vice/sickness/treatment cycle of life. Let’s hope this fundamental shift in thinking infects research divisions within the pharmaceutical industrial complex.

    Nice move to the cutting edge, CVS.

  182. Finally a corporation that does the right thing. Thank you CVS for putting public health in front of profits!!! Okay everybody, time to support and shop CVS. Share it on Facebook.

  183. Good for them!....Hmmm....What's the catch? (Remember: Follow the money). No, if you have to ask, I do not trust corporate America.

  184. Way to go , CVS ... I'm your new customer. Please keep moving in that healthful direction.

  185. People in Las Vegas will continue to buy cigarettes at the casinos. Many of the casinos sell cigarettes at cost just to keep the customers happy. This is still a free country and smokers will always find an outlet for their addiction. To make up the lost money CVS will just increase the prices of the cosmetics and other non drug items that they sell.

  186. Thank You for eliminating this health menace from your stores. It is a bold business decision but the right one.

  187. Isn't it a strange disconnect that pharmacies sell harmful tobacco products on one end of the store, and medicine, some of which may be used to treat the health issues caused by tobacco, on the other end.

    Congratulations to CVS for making a sensible policy.
    And to those fretting that their freedom of choice is being affected, remember, CVS is under no obligation to sell harmful products.

  188. CVS/Walgreens do not sell lottery tickets either. I go to the hundreds of lottery retailers that do.

  189. At first blush, this may look positive. but I have the feeling that there was just a bottom line decision and has nothing to do with providing healthier choices for consumers. Look at all the other garbage they will continue to sell: chips, soda, candy and those millions of supplements that do nothing for you.

  190. I regular shopped at a grocery market in the Pennsylvania town in which I lived for 20 years and was always flabbergasted to watch people enter the store for one purpose only (not to buy some milk): To purchase cigs. I suspect that today's biggest retail source of cancer sticks is the mind-boggling fleet of gas station/convenience stores.

  191. We trust companies every day. We expect them to care for our money (banks), our food, our road construction, our cars, our our flights, and almost every other facet of life. And yet, is is unexpected when a health-oriented company decides to stop selling a product that, used as directed, kills customers.

    Well, my opinion of CVS just went way up. I will switch from Walgreens at least until they see the light. Some stockholders seem to hate ethical stands by companies. This investor has done quite well picking stocks od those who care about customers. I rate CVS a BUY.

  192. For those of us who have quit smoking - whether for a year or 30 years - it will be a relief to checkout without looking at cigarettes.

  193. Yah! Now if they'd just move those 'sharing size' bags of peanut M&Ms, I'd be all set!

  194. I've quit for over 20 years, but I want a cigarette right now. Those who have never smoked would not believe the addictive power of tobacco.

  195. So why haven't they announced the cessation of alcohol sales?

    It's just as, if not more, deadly than tobacco, and the only purpose it serves aside from getting drunk is in religious ceremonies, for which all one needs is a bottle of wine, no vodka or rum needed. The legal age for smoking is 18 and the legal age for drinking is 21. We already know it's a danger to your liver and, if you get behind the wheel, your life. Think of which product is easier to obtain and comes in flavors like cherry, chocolate, and lemonade.

    If CVS wants to continue to promote health on their shelves, they should stop carrying that poison.

  196. Don't drink, don't smoke. What do you do?

  197. Fantastic, this is huge and I hope more drugstores follow suit.