However, people that want to buy tobacco will soon have to shop elsewhere.
CVS has over 7,600 stores across the U.S. The pharmacy announced it would start phasing out its sales of tobacco products and would not sell any more by October 1. CVS is the first national chain of pharmacies to eliminate tobacco sales in all their locations.
CVS CEO and President Larry Merlo called the company’s decision a significant step in promoting better health. He said tobacco did not have a place in a store where the most important part is the delivery of healthcare.
Smoking cessation products such as patches with nicotine will remain on sale at all CVS stores, said the company statement outlining the stopping of tobacco sales.
The chief medical officer at CVS, Dr. Troy Brennan, said the company and its employees should help patients manage medications that are needed for diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
The doctor said it was antithetical to have a product such as tobacco, which causes a number of these types of diseases, therefore because of that it was important the company eliminate the sale of all products related to tobacco.
The paradox of having tobacco products on sale in a pharmacy has become more relevant due to changes in the industry said Brennan.
The pharmacy industry changes include becoming more active within the healthcare industry through giving more patient counseling, products for wellness, and outreach to centers of healthcare.
The doctor continued by saying even more important was that pharmacies have started to move into the arena of treatment, with the start of health clinics at the retail level.
These clinics, which had been designed originally to address common infections, are now starting to work with clinicians in primary care to assist in the treating of diabetes, hyperlipidemia and hypertension, which are all conditions that are exacerbated through smoking.
CVS’s decision to remove tobacco products is a continuation of a push nationwide for retailers to separate themselves from the sale of tobacco as continued research demonstrates the negative effect on health that smoking has.