CVS to stop selling tobacco products

posted at 8:01 am on February 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

I didn’t include the word breaking in the headline, but a lot of news agencies did this morning when the pharmacy chain made its announcement.  CVS will turn its back on $2 billion in annual revenue and stop stocking tobacco products, saying that giving access to tobacco conflicts with their core mission of health improvement:

CVS Caremark pharmacies will phase out tobacco in U.S. retail stores by Oct. 1, officials announced Wednesday, saying that selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine undermines the mission of promoting good health.

The chain will lose about $2 billion in revenues annually from sales of tobacco in its 7,600 stores, but CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes said it just makes sense for a firm now positioning itself as a health care company.

“It was very important to us that, as we’re working with doctors and hospital systems and health plans, that they see us as an extension of their services,” Foulkes said. “It’s virtually impossible to be in the tobacco business when you want to be a health care partner to the health care system.”

The move is also an effort to help curb tobacco-related illness and the 480,000 deaths caused by smoking each year in the U.S. Despite huge reductions over the past 50 years, about 18 percent of Americans — 42 million people — still smoke, health officials say. Smoking costs the nation about $289 billion annually in direct medical costs and lost productivity, according to federal figures.

Health experts and groups like the American Pharmacists Association and the American Medical Association have urged stores that house pharmacies to stop selling tobacco for years. Many small, independent pharmacies and small private chains already ban tobacco, said John Norton, spokesman for the National Community Pharmacists Association.Target stores stopped selling tobacco products in 1996.

The Washington Post notes that the stores have recently added health clinics, which make the dichotomy a little more apparent:

CVS has increasingly moved beyond its traditional role as a pharmacy in recent years, expanding its reach as a health care provider. Its MinuteClinics services have allowed the company to increasingly enter into contracts with hospitals and health plans, often providing primary care services on the weekends and evenings when doctors’ offices tend to be closed.

CVS chief medical officer Troyen A. Brennan estimates that the company has between 30 and 40 partnerships with health care systems across the country, and is in talks a similar number about starting additional arrangements.

He said the decision to halt tobacco sales will make it easier to strike such deals, particularly those that include financial rewards for CVS if they can help patients stop smoking and reduce their medical bills.

That’s a big chunk of revenue to refuse, and shareholders may be less than pleased with the initial hit to the bottom line. In the long run, though, this is probably a smart move. Smoking cessation is a growth business, while tobacco use simply isn’t. The $2 billion in revenue wasn’t going to stay at that level for much longer; I’d be surprised if it wasn’t already dissipating over the last several years. If CVS plans to partner up on low-cost clinics, they would have caught up to that lost revenue in a few years based on the downward trend for cigarette use. Don’t be surprised to see other pharmacy chains follow suit.

Still, one can wander through a CVS and see lots of things that doctors don’t recommend for healthy lifestyles. They sell an impressive array of candy, junk food, and even large bottles of cola to which Michael Bloomberg would probably object. Will CVS pare that down, too? And how many pharmacy chains will follow that play?


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…booze too?

KOOLAID2 on February 5, 2014 at 8:02 AM

And cheese balls?

Nomennovum on February 5, 2014 at 8:04 AM

True as a non-government entity CVS has the right to sell whatever they want. The problem with their estimate of lost revenue is that customers buying cigarettes probably are buying other things as well. I can only imagine what that lost revenue will be.

bsinc1962 on February 5, 2014 at 8:07 AM

giving access to tobacco conflicts with their core mission of health improvement:

Their core mission is health improvement? Is that when you go into any CVS there is like one aisle of health-related products that are only accessible after passing through the other 90% of the store which pretty much sells everything from blow-up Santas (in the seasonal aisle) to stationary to milk and eggs!

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:10 AM

True as a non-government entity CVS has the right to sell whatever they want. The problem with their estimate of lost revenue is that customers buying cigarettes probably are buying other things as well. I can only imagine what that lost revenue will be.

bsinc1962 on February 5, 2014 at 8:07 AM

I liked one “analyst” on the news this morning saying that the move could even help CVS attract new customers who didn’t shop there because they sold tobacco products. Do you suppose that anybody was really boycotting CVS because they sold cigarettes?

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Makes sense…..

cmsinaz on February 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Damn the Doritos, too!

Key West Reader on February 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM

When will they start selling pot in legal states?

Curtiss on February 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Currying favor with the Fed, end of story.

rob verdi on February 5, 2014 at 8:13 AM

It should help their employees who are trying to quit. That could really help their long term health care costs.

Imrahil on February 5, 2014 at 8:14 AM

A couple of things about smoking and smokers. First, I quit smoking about 6 years ago. I quit cold-turkey, despite all the hype about nicotine being more addictive than heroin. Cigarettes are not a good thing, but they’re certainly not as bad as what they were made out to be.

This may be the beginning of the end for the cigarette and tobacco, but I wouldn’t be cheering too much. The tax money generated by tobacco was immense and will have to be made up for somehow. I expect a lot of non-smokers will be paying more in taxes. Once I quit, I looked at what was being done to tobacco taxes and laughing that I wasn’t going to have to pay them. Well, now that liberals have screwed this up, I’m going to have to pay on something.

This is one of those things where I’m just not sure society, as a whole, is better off. When you look at the liberty we lost, the attacks made on basically good people, and the way this was accomplished, you have to wonder if the people willing to do this will stop, once the victory over tobacco is complete.

bflat879 on February 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM

OK, this is a big deal why? It’s their business and their stockholders are obviously OK with this choice. Why is this news? Because they are idiots for tossing money away?

Johnnyreb on February 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM

I’m guessing the increase in sting operations has something more to do with this decision by CVS as well. Law enforcement has stepped up these stings, aimed at catching stores that sell cigs to minors and not checking ID’s. Fines can get pretty hefty for repeat offenders, and I’ve seen places forced to close for some set number of days as punishment for not checking ID’s. At one point, many stores adopted a “check everyone’s ID” policy…even if he person wanting to purchase tobacco products was 70 years old.

JetBoy on February 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

OK, this is a big deal why? It’s their business and their stockholders are obviously OK with this choice. Why is this news? Because they are idiots for tossing money away?

Johnnyreb on February 5, 2014 at 8:15 AM

There will be unintended consequences. There always are. CVS has implicitly decided to accept whatever they turn out to be.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:18 AM

They are just making room for medical marijuana displays.

meci on February 5, 2014 at 8:19 AM

OT: Clay Aiken running for Congress. LoL

crrr6 on February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Still, one can wander through a CVS and see lots of things that doctors don’t recommend for healthy lifestyles. They sell an impressive array of candy, junk food, and even large bottles of cola to which Michael Bloomberg would probably object. Will CVS pare that down, too? And how many pharmacy chains will follow that play?

That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw that headline. They also sell frozen pizza and ice cream. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find anything healthy to eat at a CVS.

Doughboy on February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw that headline. They also sell frozen pizza and ice cream. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find anything healthy to eat at a CVS.

Doughboy on February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

Well, they do sell chewable vitamins! ;0

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

2 billion in revenue or 2 billion in profits there is a big difference. In my work with Costco, profits from tobacco products is minimal vs the space…..they have been downsizing the s.f. as well…….adding things like second hearing aid testing etc.

Animal60 on February 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

I liked one “analyst” on the news this morning saying that the move could even help CVS attract new customers who didn’t shop there because they sold tobacco products. Do you suppose that anybody was really boycotting CVS because they sold cigarettes?

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

In my hometown, if you boycotted businesses that sold tobacco, you’d have to leave town and travel at least 20 miles one-way to get gas for your vehicle.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

The problem with their estimate of lost revenue is that customers buying cigarettes probably are buying other things as well. I can only imagine what that lost revenue will be.

bsinc1962 on February 5, 2014 at 8:07 AM

Yep and most of these companies build pharmacies across the street from each other to compete. Someone who wants to pick up some groceries and a pack of cigs will just go across the street for one stop shopping.

HotAirian on February 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

OT: Clay Aiken running for Congress. LoL

crrr6 on February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

The Republican he is running against was on local talk radio a couple weeks ago. They asked her if she had ever voted for Aiken when he was on American Idol. She diplomatically talked about Aiken’s singing career not going as planned and left it at that.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:23 AM

CVS Caremark pharmacies will phase out tobacco in U.S. retail stores by Oct. 1, officials announced Wednesday, saying that selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine undermines the mission of promoting good health.

Odd. I thought their mission was profit…

JohnGalt23 on February 5, 2014 at 8:24 AM

Odd. I thought their mission was profit…

JohnGalt23 on February 5, 2014 at 8:24 AM

A publicly traded company’s mission is to “maximize shareholder value.” Corporate culture reflects the people that fuel it.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM

They also sell frozen pizza and ice cream. In fact, it’s pretty hard to find anything healthy to eat at a CVS.

Doughboy on February 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM

What do you mean?!?!

You just said they sell pizza and ice cream…

JohnGalt23 on February 5, 2014 at 8:26 AM

Walgreens is very happy to hear this.

HotAirian on February 5, 2014 at 8:26 AM

E-cigs instead of real cigs?

meci on February 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM

E-cigs instead of real cigs?

meci on February 5, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Ecigs are already essentially banned in New York. That’s the clearest evidence to me that it’s about what’s fashionable instead of what’s right.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:28 AM

The CVS is located kiddycorner from a Walgreen’s in my town. This will drive a lot of customer’s across the street to their competitor.

Flange on February 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM

The CVS is located kiddycorner from a Walgreen’s in my town. This will drive a lot of customer’s across the street to their competitor.

Flange on February 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM

…until Walgreen’s knuckles under the pressure to do the same thing CVS has done. Just you wait and see.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM

When will they start selling pot in legal states?

Curtiss on February 5, 2014 at 8:12 AM

My thoughts exactly.

BigGator5 on February 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

In my hometown, if you boycotted businesses that sold tobacco, you’d have to leave town and travel at least 20 miles one-way to get gas for your vehicle.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:22 AM

All the grocery stores in my area not only have a pharmacy but pretty much sell the same stuff you could get at a CVS along with, of course, food. They also sell tobacco products at the front desk. Yet, I’m pretty sure they don’t define health improvement as their core mission.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

All the grocery stores in my area not only have a pharmacy but pretty much sell the same stuff you could get at a CVS along with, of course, food. They also sell tobacco products at the front desk. Yet, I’m pretty sure they don’t define health improvement as their core mission.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

Grocery stores around here tend to add pharmacies as an afterthought. While I can’t speak to what it’s like in bigger cities, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that CVS started as a drug store/pharmacy that expanded into other areas. Surely this informs their marketing.

Regardless, I’ll say it again: It’s about fashionability. And no, I don’t smoke.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

I get it, it’s a hassle selling cigs.

Most of the time, they come in for that one purchase, the revenue is great, so is the loss from carrying that product, I would bet the net profit is not that great, considering they can replace the cig space with other items that are profitable. Just because you remove an item from inventory, that doesn’t mean you lose all of that revenue…if so, no one would ever update their inventory.

The hidden costs of having to “hide” the cigs from shoplifters. If there is one item that is prim for shoplifting, it’s cigs.

And add to that, they are moving towards “health”.

It’s ludicrous to put candy bars or ice cream in the same sentence with cigs when it comes to health, but such are desperate people trying to make a point.

right2bright on February 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

…until Walgreen’s knuckles under the pressure to do the same thing CVS has done. Just you wait and see.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM

But the gas station with the food mart that’s on a third corner at that same intersection probably won’t. You may be right, but I think CVS will be back selling cigarettes instead.

Flange on February 5, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Along with the displays of bagged candy, sugar-loaded energy drinks, and diet pills?

Follow the windsock! But hey, it’s a private enterprise and CVS can do what it wants so more power to them.

Bishop on February 5, 2014 at 8:37 AM

The CVS is located kiddycorner from a Walgreen’s in my town. This will drive a lot of customer’s across the street to their competitor.

Flange on February 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM

In my town they are directly across the main road from each other.

Johnnyreb on February 5, 2014 at 8:37 AM

It’s ludicrous to put candy bars or ice cream in the same sentence with cigs when it comes to health, but such are desperate people trying to make a point.

right2bright on February 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

It is ludicrous. So how come the food nazis do it? I don’t think most of us here really care one way or the other, but if CVS’s core mission is really “enhancing health,” what’s the next fashionable health fad they’re going to knuckle under to? That’s the whole point here.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:38 AM

…until Walgreen’s knuckles under the pressure to do the same thing CVS has done. Just you wait and see.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Or wise up…sometimes these large retailers actually make a decision that is profitable.

You don’t think they studied this in detail? CVS isn’t that large because they “knuckle” under, and neither is Walgreen’s.

right2bright on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

It’s all linked to Obamacare. They openly promoted it and have navigators in the stores. And remember they require their employees to divulge personal health info….there’s a $600 “penalty” for non-compliance.

And then there’s this from the weapon article Ed linked. If not in cahoots, then why would obama make a statement right away.

President Obama — himself a former smoker — praised the CVS decision in a statement Wednesday morning, saying that the move by the pharmacy chain “sets powerful example” that will “help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”

Brat on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

I liked one “analyst” on the news this morning saying that the move could even help CVS attract new customers who didn’t shop there because they sold tobacco products. Do you suppose that anybody was really boycotting CVS because they sold cigarettes?

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

That untapped niche niche niche niche niche market of one person per 100,000? The kind of niche market that keeps cat turds who “homeopathic” purposes. Yeah, OK, Mr. “Analyst”. HAW.

Jeddite on February 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM

While I can’t speak to what it’s like in bigger cities, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that CVS started as a drug store/pharmacy that expanded into other areas. Surely this informs their marketing.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:35 AM

I’ve always suspected that CVS started out as a hair care store that expanded into other areas. Seriously, like a third of the store is taken up with hair-related products! Aspirin is tucked away in a back corner but you can easily find all the shampoos, gels, curlers, brushes, extensions, etc.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:40 AM

Or wise up…sometimes these large retailers actually make a decision that is profitable.

You don’t think they studied this in detail? CVS isn’t that large because they “knuckle” under, and neither is Walgreen’s.

right2bright on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Large retailers of the publicly traded sort do what looks good to their shareholders. That may or may not be profitable; that may even be profitable most of the time, but it is not necessarily so. There may be actions taken by publicly traded corporations to placate the shareholders that cost them a shitload of money, but the first last and only consideration in corporate actions is lawsuit avoidance. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is hopelessly naive.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:41 AM

President Obama — himself a former smoker — praised the CVS decision in a statement Wednesday morning, saying that the move by the pharmacy chain “sets powerful example” that will “help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”

The only problem with that Captain Kickass is that states and your administration all depend heavily on the tax revenue generated by those filthy products. You may not like smokers but you aren’t willing to give up the money generated by their dirty habit. If you really wanted to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease you would call for a complete ban on tobacco products.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:42 AM

All the grocery stores in my area not only have a pharmacy but pretty much sell the same stuff you could get at a CVS along with, of course, food. They also sell tobacco products at the front desk. Yet, I’m pretty sure they don’t define health improvement as their core mission.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:33 AM

The burg closest to me had an honest to gaia independent pharmacy open not too long ago in a small strip mall, nothing but meds and health stuff, nothing else. I’ll see how long it lasts but considering they now have a porta-sign out front offering gift cards when you open a prescription account, I’d say their days are numbered.

Bishop on February 5, 2014 at 8:43 AM

The only problem with that Captain Kickass is that states and your administration all depend heavily on the tax revenue generated by those filthy products. You may not like smokers but you aren’t willing to give up the money generated by their dirty habit. If you really wanted to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease you would call for a complete ban on tobacco products.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:42 AM

Hence why tobacco has not been outlawed yet. Government has too much to lose.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:43 AM

I don’t smoke, but absent federal funds from Obamcare for their Minit Clinics, this is a stupid decision re: the corporate bottom line. No smokes, but 3 pound bags of candy that you can wash down with 2-liter bottles of sugary soda. Choose your death wisely, right?

Let’s face it: this has nothing to do with health related issues. It’s almost certainly driven by the federal money that CVS sees itself receiving over this decision. If that doesn’t pan out, look for Walgreens and Rite-Aid to buy out CVS in the near future. Because CVS isn’t a “drug store”. Rather, it’s a convenience store with a pharmacy in the back.

Physics Geek on February 5, 2014 at 8:49 AM

The $2 billion in revenue wasn’t going to stay at that level for much longer; I’d be surprised if it wasn’t already dissipating over the last several years.

What were their tobacco revenues the past few years? Were they declining anyway, or simply not keeping pace with inflation?

rbj on February 5, 2014 at 8:53 AM

What were their tobacco revenues the past few years? Were they declining anyway, or simply not keeping pace with inflation?

rbj on February 5, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Statistically, smoking bans force down cigarette sales temporarily while smokeless tobacco stays steady or goes up slightly. Once the downward spike evens out, most smokers from before the ban will keep smoking anyway wherever and whenever they can. Whatever the reasons for doing this, “enhancing health” is among the dodgiest.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

You don’t think they studied this in detail? CVS isn’t that large because they “knuckle” under, and neither is Walgreen’s.

right2bright on February 5, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Well, we have both a CVS and a Walgreens in my small town not far from each other. Walgreens has a separate liquor store where they also sell cigarettes. Walgreens also carries e-cigs while CVS does not and they are cashing in big time. So I think Walgreens knows where the profits are better than CVS.

BeachBum on February 5, 2014 at 8:55 AM

Because CVS isn’t a “drug store”. Rather, it’s a convenience store with a pharmacy in the back.

Physics Geek on February 5, 2014 at 8:49 AM

But they say their core mission is health improvement! You’re saying their core mission is convenience! Of course, you’re right. Any of the big “drug stores” are only a slurpee machine shy of being a 7-11.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Any of the big “drug stores” are only a slurpee machine shy of being a 7-11.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Now THAT is quote worthy. I’m so stealing it.

Physics Geek on February 5, 2014 at 8:59 AM

We’re in some kind of weirdo liberal land. Wanna bet they’ll try to sell medical marijuana in Colorado?

ButterflyDragon on February 5, 2014 at 9:07 AM

https://twitter.com/markknoller

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller 57m

In his written statement, Pres Obama thanks and congratulates CVS execs for a decision “that will have a profoundly positive impact.”
Expand

Reply
Retweet
Favorite

Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller 58m

“CVS sets a powerful example,” says the pres., and it will help reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer and heart disease.
Expand

Reply
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Mark Knoller ‏@markknoller 59m

WH out early this morning with a statement by the President hailing the announcement by CVS drug stores it will stop selling cigarettes.
Expand

canopfor on February 5, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Meh. They’re a free enterprise. They can sell or not sell whatever they want. It’s still nominally a free country.

Chris of Rights on February 5, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Would be a smart move for them to replace their cigarette displays with e-cigarette products and sell that as “smoking cessation”. More revenue to be had there.

powerpickle on February 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Meh. They’re a free enterprise. They can sell or not sell whatever they want. It’s still nominally a free country.

Chris of Rights on February 5, 2014 at 9:11 AM

People are free to be stupid. And I’m free to call CVS out on their stupidity. badda-bing-badda-boom!

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

And why phase it out by October 1st? I find it hard to believe they have 7 months worth of tobacco product in their warehouses. And the fact Obama has already released a statement prior to 7:00am? Yeah, there’s some kind of a deal behind closed doors we’re not hearing about.

ButterflyDragon on February 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

saying that selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine undermines the mission of promoting good health

Really, CVS? I take it you’ll also be eliminating those two entire aisles of nothing but junk food.

steebo77 on February 5, 2014 at 9:18 AM

ButterflyDragon on February 5, 2014 at 9:13 AM

Yep. It’s somewhere in that bill. Nancy knows where it is.

Follow the money on Oct. 2.

Brat on February 5, 2014 at 9:19 AM

steebo77 on February 5, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Oh they will. In a couple of years, CVS will be solely an obamacare clinic.

Brat on February 5, 2014 at 9:21 AM

How long before Duane Reade/Walgreen’s follows suit? If I can’t buy my smokes and my booze at the corner store, I’mma be pissed.

steebo77 on February 5, 2014 at 9:23 AM

I am shocked by Walgreens giving pet vaccinations now. Talk about one stop shopping!

Brat on February 5, 2014 at 9:26 AM

CVS to phase out tobacco products
2h
President Obama: ‘I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores’ – @mpoindc
see original on twitter.com

canopfor on February 5, 2014 at 9:27 AM

It is ludicrous. So how come the food nazis do it? I don’t think most of us here really care one way or the other, but if CVS’s core mission is really “enhancing health,” what’s the next fashionable health fad they’re going to knuckle under to? That’s the whole point here.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 8:38 AM

It’s always FREE MARKET(TM) until they start stop selling things you like, or start selling things you don’t like.

Are you really going to be this hypocritical?

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I’ve never smoked. the wife does however and she’ll find them no matter what.

gerrym51 on February 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

CVS has the right to sell whatever legal product they want, and not sell anything they don’t. Well, at least in the United States I grew up in.

Having said that, I shall be shopping elsewhere because of their ban, even though I rarely bought cigarettes or lighters there. I am disappointed as CVS was within walking distance from me, and their competitors aren’t.

Unless they are planning on being ObamaClinics and getting lots of government money, I think they will find this decision will hurt their bottom line. Not just from the loss of revenue, but from the loss of traffic of people stopping in to pick up cigarettes and, “oh, while I’m here”, picking up something else.

Kevin K. on February 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

CVS Pharmacy
11m
First Lady Michelle Obama on CVS decision to pull tobacco products: ‘Now we can all breathe a little easier, and our families can live healthier’ – @FLOTUS

canopfor on February 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

At the risk of ignoring the negative health consequences of smoking, you have to wonder if cities, states, fed are considering the impact of tax loss if they are successful in driving tobacco products out.

NY has a state tax of $4.35 per pack. Of course that is so high many people buy cig in surrounding states which are as much as $1 lower.

While non-smokers don’t care they should stop and consider who is going to get taxed to replace tat revenue. No way will any of the govt entities stop spending that money.

katiejane on February 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

It’s always FREE MARKET(TM) until they start stop selling things you like, or start selling things you don’t like.

Are you really going to be this hypocritical?

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 9:30 AM

I’m not suggesting that CVS should be forced to sell anything. But freedom means that I am free to call them out for their hypocrisy considering the rows-upon-rows of convenience foods, candies, and sodas that make up the bulk of their revenue.

I can not say it often enough: I don’t smoke. But my stand against this kind of foolishness is a principled one. Just cause you are free to do something doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

The White House Verified account ‏@WhiteHouse
https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/431071542382833664
Obama: “I applaud this morning’s news that @CVS_Extra has decided to stop selling cigarettes…in its stores.” pic.twitter.com/PAbM3AHkmv

ITguy on February 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

If you’re getting props from Barack Obama, you’re doing it wrong.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

I’m not suggesting that CVS should be forced to sell anything. But freedom means that I am free to call them out for their hypocrisy considering the rows-upon-rows of convenience foods, candies, and sodas that make up the bulk of their revenue.

I completely agree with you. I say that with complete sincerity.

My personal take on this is CVS thinks they can make more money by not selling tobacco than by selling it. Their commitment to health is bull. It’s an empty corporate statement meant to assuage some segment of society.

They simply believe they can make more money with this approach. That being said, I don’t necessarily disagree. If a place appears more clinical, people may ‘trust’ it more than a place that appears less clinical.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

I completely agree with you. I say that with complete sincerity.

My personal take on this is CVS thinks they can make more money by not selling tobacco than by selling it. Their commitment to health is bull. It’s an empty corporate statement meant to assuage some segment of society.

They simply believe they can make more money with this approach. That being said, I don’t necessarily disagree. If a place appears more clinical, people may ‘trust’ it more than a place that appears less clinical.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

What if their motive isn’t money, though? I have long maintained that the real first priority of corporate America is now lawsuit avoidance, and has been for decades. And not only that, but a corporation that doesn’t follow the latest trends, fashions, and fads will find itself either left in the dust or regulated out of existence (e.g. global warming/climate change).

Barack and Michelle Obama both giving CVS props for this decision? That alone is enough to make it suspect in my eyes. I can’t be the only person in this thread concerned with that, am I?

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

It’s obvious to me that CVS just hates children. The taxes from cigarettes and other tobacco products feed the SCHIP program. Eliminating tobacco from your stock eliminates that revenue. CHILDREN are going to DIE because they can’t get health care. Mostly MINORITY children at that! CVS just another heartless, racist, capitalist corporation. Whaddya think do I need a sarc tag?

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

CVS will turn its back on $2 billion in annual revenue and stop stocking tobacco products, saying that giving access to tobacco conflicts with their core mission of health improvement:

People don’t buy only cigarettes when they buy cigarettes. Their losses will be greater as many smokers stop buying anything altogether at CVS.

In the long run, though, this is probably a smart move. Smoking cessation is a growth business, while tobacco use simply isn’t.

Turning away 20% of potential customers is a “smart” move? Again, smokers buy more than cigarettes.

NotCoach on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

It’s obvious to me that CVS just hates children. The taxes from cigarettes and other tobacco products feed the SCHIP program. Eliminating tobacco from your stock eliminates that revenue. CHILDREN are going to DIE because they can’t get health care. Mostly MINORITY children at that! CVS just another heartless, racist, capitalist corporation. Whaddya think do I need a sarc tag?

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

SCHIP’s a scam. Medicaid is a scam. Medicare is a scam. Social security is a scam. Quantitative easing is a scam.The government’s concern trolling over tobacco is a scam. The war on poverty is a scam. FDR’s New Deal was a scam. LBJ’s pen signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a scam. Scam scam scam. We’re being scammed by our government on a daily basis to the tune of billions of dollars, an amount that would make a mafia boss do a spit-take, and we the people drink it up.

/Pbbbbbbt!

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Turning away 20% of potential customers is a “smart” move? Again, smokers buy more than cigarettes.

NotCoach on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

It’s a logical fallacy, NC. It’s automatically assumed that if a business does it, it must be a smart move because businesses don’t do anything dumb. Unfortunately, if that were true, businesses would never go belly-up and we all know that happens all the time.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

Let us hope they quit selling candy as well to fat people that inhabit their stores

Obamatrix on February 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Don’t count on it. If that happens, it’ll be a few years away yet.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Let us hope they quit selling candy as well to fat people that inhabit their stores

Obamatrix on February 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

You’re obviously just another sexist, racist homophobic tea partier out to smear our dear leader (no caps) on any issue that comes up. Well it ain’t his fault and I’m telling libfree on you….Our government, under The Won’s stellar leadership has only the welfare of it’s subjects citizens in mind and will take care of us because we just can’t do it ourselves and shut up!

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Let us hope they quit selling candy as well to fat people that inhabit their stores

Obamatrix on February 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Don’t count on it. If that happens, it’ll be a few years away yet.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

You have a time machine….cool.

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Do you suppose that anybody was really boycotting CVS because they sold cigarettes?

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 8:11 AM

Not everyone is sensitive to cigarette smoke.

I just got over a 2-day migraine courtesy of some people puffing up outside my neighborhood Walgreens. I should not have to tolerate a 2-day migraine when I drop into Walgreens for a quart of milk. You may not have noticed it, but smokers get mighty fidgety and the second they can, they light up – which means right outside the door. And of course smoking is a social thing, so two or three or more will stand around sucking the cancer sticks. Which as the doors open and shut constantly while they puff, means I suffer several minutes standing in line, breathing their poison.

Sorry if that’s a bit harsh. I look forward to Walgreens following CVS’s lead. Smoking is a vile habit and anything we can do (without the hand of government) to discourage it, I’m all for it.

JoseQuinones on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

So when will CVS stop selling alcoholic beverages?

GarandFan on February 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Sorry if that’s a bit harsh. I look forward to Walgreens following CVS’s lead. Smoking is a vile habit and anything we can do (without the hand of government) to discourage it, I’m all for it.

JoseQuinones on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

How do you know government’s hand wasn’t in this, Jose? I mean, Barack Obama did tweet props to CVS already. Seems to me like the threat of regulation should scare us anymore as much as government’s heavy hand does.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Since we have a Walgreens employee in the family, all I can say is “Yay” more business.

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

What if their motive isn’t money, though? I have long maintained that the real first priority of corporate America is now lawsuit avoidance, and has been for decades. And not only that, but a corporation that doesn’t follow the latest trends, fashions, and fads will find itself either left in the dust or regulated out of existence (e.g. global warming/climate change).

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Everything you list there comes down to the all-mighty dollar. Let’s assume they want to avoid lawsuits. They want to avoid them because they’ll lose money. Let’s assume they they don’t want to be left in the dust or regulated out of existence. They do that because they don’t want to lose money.

McDonalds added salads to their menu and removed the Supersize option from their menu. People laughed at them. McDonalds is more profitable now than ever. People came in for the salads, and people didn’t really care about losing the Supersize.

Corporations don’t make decisions like this in a vacuum. This was a calculated decision by this relatively successful organization to maximize their money-making potential. Yes, they may take a hit in a short-run, but that’s like an investment.

I think the real irony here is that people are almost wishing for this chain to fail because they made a choice that seems ‘liberal’. You said it yourself; you don’t even smoke! So how does the choice this organization made impact you at all? Why do you care one iota if they sell cigarettes or not?

It sounds like you already answered it; since liberals support it, you’re against it.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:06 AM

“Nice pharmacy you have there. Be a shame if anything happened to it, don’t you think?”

/Government

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

JoseQuinones on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

You seem to have a very sensitive system and while I am sorry, must the world cave to it? I suppose if you had a peanut allergy then peanuts would have to be put out of production. I was the victim of a drunk hit and run, ban alcohol now.

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

People don’t buy only cigarettes when they buy cigarettes. Their losses will be greater as many smokers stop buying anything altogether at CVS.

Turning away 20% of potential customers is a “smart” move? Again, smokers buy more than cigarettes.

NotCoach on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

CVS knows exactly how many people buy other things while also buying cigarettes. They know exactly how much business they’ll be losing in this regard. I think you’re hoping that they lose business more than expecting them to lose a lot of business.

And anecdotally, when people buy cigs, they generally just by cigs. I’ve never seen someone with a basket full of things say “Oh yeah, can I get a pack of Newports”.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

I think the real irony here is that people are almost wishing for this chain to fail because they made a choice that seems ‘liberal’. You said it yourself; you don’t even smoke! So how does the choice this organization made impact you at all? Why do you care one iota if they sell cigarettes or not?

It sounds like you already answered it; since liberals support it, you’re against it.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:06 AM

No shit sherlock? You think it’s wrong to be reflexively against what liberals are for?!

Like I said, I care about things like these because I am principled. If I smoked and I was pissed off about a business’s decision not to sell cigarettes, you would be accusing me of convenience logic, and rightfully so. “You’re just pissed because you’re a smoker.”

I’m not necessarily saying I hope CVS goes tits-up, but if they will lose 2 billion dollars by their own admission, that tells me that someone at some level believes they are also making a principled choice, and one that I happen to disagree with. Or does “freedom” only cut one way?

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 10:10 AM

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:06 AM

MacDonald’s still have a full menu and Supersize is still available. They even have any drink, any size for $1. Of course it is for the dollar, lots of them. And guess what? You don’t have to go there. Is America great or what!

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

MacDonalds still has a full menu and Supersize is still available. They even have any drink, any size for $1. Of course it is for the dollar, lots of them. And guess what? You don’t have to go there. Is America great or what!

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Darn it.

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

And anecdotally, when people buy cigs, they generally just by cigs. I’ve never seen someone with a basket full of things say “Oh yeah, can I get a pack of Newports”.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Most folks around my home town buy cigarettes at convenience stores, where I believe that would hold true. At a CVS, I’d expect that to not be the case quite so much. CVS bills itself as a pharmacy you can also get groceries at. In all reality and honesty, they’re a convenience store chain with dispensaries. I think they’ll do all right without tobacco as long as they can compete with Wallgreen’s, but don’t let yourself dive into the fallacy of thinking they’re doing it because it will be good for or neutral to their bottom line. If all business decisions were beneficial, no businesses would ever go belly-up.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 10:14 AM

You seem to have a very sensitive system and while I am sorry, must the world cave to it? I suppose if you had a peanut allergy then peanuts would have to be put out of production. I was the victim of a drunk hit and run, ban alcohol now.

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Second-hand smoke is annoying. There’s no other way to say it. That being said, it’s also dangerous. There’s a reason why doctors ask if you were raised in an environment where you’re parents smoked. It can cause lasting health issues.

Should people be free to smoke anywhere they want? In an airplane or whatnot?

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

I suppose if you had a peanut allergy then peanuts would have to be put out of production. I was the victim of a drunk hit and run, ban alcohol now.

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Now you’re just mischaracterizing my point. I never suggested outlawing the sale of cigarettes. I say “thank you” to CVS for deciding not to sell cigarettes, as that will increase my comfort as a a customer, and I hope Walgreens will follow their suit.

Not everything is politics.

JoseQuinones on February 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

MacDonald’s still have a full menu and Supersize is still available. They even have any drink, any size for $1. Of course it is for the dollar, lots of them. And guess what? You don’t have to go there. Is America great or what!

Cindy Munford on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

My point is that people thought McDonalds was caving to those that are more health-conscious, when in fact they saw this path as a way to make more money than they were currently making.

They didn’t make the change for the benefit of mankind, they made it so that they could make more money. And it’s working for them.

And you can’t supersize things anymore. That’s gone. You just have small, medium, and large.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

And you can’t supersize things anymore. That’s gone. You just have small, medium, and large.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

And the interesting thing is that most people didn’t even notice. There was such a outrage when they announced it, and now, few even notices its gone.

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Second-hand smoke is annoying. There’s no other way to say it. That being said, it’s also dangerous. There’s a reason why doctors ask if you were raised in an environment where you’re parents smoked. It can cause lasting health issues.

Should people be free to smoke anywhere they want? In an airplane or whatnot?

segasagez on February 5, 2014 at 10:16 AM

If second-hand smoke is that dangerous, how come there hasn’t been a move to ban cigarettes? I’ll tell you why: Becaus government relies on the tax revenue at every level, city, state and federal. You’re being scammed and you appear to like it.

gryphon202 on February 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM

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