The irony of going into a pharmacy, picking up medication, perhaps a multivitamin and a pack of cigarettes, sums up how health is viewed by many in our country, but this irony is not completely lost on CVS. Back in February, the company announced that it would stop selling tobacco products in all of its stores by October 1st, and a few weeks ago, all of its stores became tobacco-free. It also announced that it has changed its name to CVSHealth in order to reflect its new commitment to promoting health.
Ridding their shelves of tobacco could have a significant effect on smoking cessation, Jayne O'Donnell and Laura Ungar of USA Today report:
CVS says research shows its decision will have a big impact. A study the company is releasing Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs shows bans at pharmacies in Boston and San Francisco led to more than 13% fewer purchasers. Smokers didn't just switch where they bought cigarettes and other tobacco products, some stopped buying them altogether. About 900 households in the two cities recorded everything they bought after the bans went into effect.
It goes without saying that this not just a feel good move for the company. This is primarily a business decision, as Rachel Abrams of the New York Times explains:
The decision to stop selling cigarettes is a strategic move as pharmacies across the country jockey for a piece of the growing health care industry. Rebranding itself as a company focused on health could prove lucrative for the drugstore as it seeks to appeal to medical partners that can help it bridge the gap between customers and their doctors."
But, it is nice to see that this business decision could be mutually beneficial for consumer health.
CVS stops selling tobacco, offers quit-smoking programs via USA Today
CVS Stores Stop Selling All Tobacco Products via NY Times