CVS Health no longer selling tobacco


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Photo by Mike Dicola

CVS/pharmacies everywhere are going cold turkey. Soon more than 7,600 stores across the U.S. will remove tobacco products from their shelves. This is CVS’s bold step toward providing better healthcare to its customers.

“I’m surprised by how much positive feedback we’re getting for it,” said Nikki Petraccaro, the beauty manager at the CVS on Main St. in Chatham. “It’s only a matter of time before other stores follow suit.”

Other pharmacy chains might not want to lose the revenue that selling cigarettes provides. The cost of this move toward a healthier image for CVS is an estimated $2 billion loss in revenue, according to

“It may be a loss at first, but it will come back.” said Ron Sepe, the store manager at the Chatham

CVS. “We may lose that impulse buyer who’s going to come walking through the door just looking for their pack of cigarettes, but, you know, maybe there’s other things that that person needs. We want people to walk in and say ‘Hey, this is really great, what you guys are doing, and I’m going to definitely start shopping here because of that’ or ‘I’m going to stay here’.”

This gutsy effort for a healthier clientele is not being made out of the blue. According to the American Lung Association, approximately 8.6 million people in the U.S. have a serious ill- ness caused by smoking. Among the diseases caused by smoking, bladder, esophageal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach and pancreatic cancers are at the top of the list. It’s apparent America is not ready to kick the habit, since not everyone agrees.

“They’re trampling on my rights. CVS is trying to tell me what to do,” Terry Drogin said. “They’re making smokers out to be unhealthy criminals.”

Drogin has been buying cigarettes at CVS for more than 10 years. She is unimpressed by CVS’s efforts to change its image.

“Why sell all of this other stuff?” Drogin said, gesturing to the long aisles of junk food and candy. “It’s completely hypocritical.”

Hypocrisy or not, CVS is still getting rid of their tobacco products.

Depending on how this decision affects people, there may be a drop in popularity for smoking. Currently, 18.1 percent of adults in the U.S. smoke. If more pharmacy chains follow in CVS’s footsteps, it could make a difference. This may be the first push toward a smoke-free America.



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