CVS Tosses Tobacco Out Of Its Stores - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

CVS Tosses Tobacco Out Of Its Stores

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One of America's largest retail pharmacies CVS Caremark announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products.

The products will be eliminated from all of its 7,600 stores nationwide by October 1st.

"We generate about $2 billion in tobacco related sales each year. But at the same time we believe this is the right decision for our company. It positions us for future growth and the opportunity to play a bigger role in our evolving healthcare system," said CVS Caremark CEO Larry Merlo.

The chain stated selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine along with other health products and services undermines the mission of promoting good health.

The big announcement is being praised by local health professionals including Lou Kreidler, Director of the Wichita County Public Health District.

"They're setting a trend for healthcare in the nation. CVS is saying that it seemed incongruent for them to be a healthcare organization and sell a product which science has proven harmful to your health," she said.

Kreidler hopes more companies will follow suit, but Texomans have one worry.

"I think people who smoke will find the tobacco elsewhere if they can't get it at CVS," said one Wichita Falls resident.

"If people want to smoke badly enough, they will do whatever they can to get the tobacco that they need. But if it's one less place they can get it from, it makes it that much more difficult," said another.

The move is also an effort to help lower the number of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. Each year, over 480,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses.

18% of Americans, estimated to about 42 million people currently smoke.

A federal report showed that each year, smoking costs the nation about $289 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity.

 

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel 6.

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