CVS's tobacco ban is just the start. Next: Soda.

It means CVS has much more work to do. Besides soda behind the counter, candy, chips, and other trash food should be removed from the front of the store to prevent impulse buys. Products with added sugars surpassing 10 percent of calorie intake should have big warning signs that they can contribute to heart disease.

Deborah Cohen, a RAND health researcher, said CVS deserves praise for turning its back on tobacco. But too many other products still on the shelf may give people a higher risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease than second-hand smoke for cancer, she said. The grocery section of the CVS weekly circular is dominated by soda and candy. “The food industry is just shoving food in to us,” Cohen said, “And we don’t have any quantification of the harm.”

The question now is how long the drugstore industry will turn a blind eye to the harms of sugar. If it is as long as it ignored the carnage of cigarettes, the answer is not good. The American Pharmacists Association recommended in 1971 that cigarettes should not be sold at pharmacies. Association CEO John Gans told The New York Times in 1994, “It is not right to sell a nicotine patch at one counter and then a pack of cigarettes at another.”

We cannot wait that long for drugstores to stop selling Coke as if it is a harmless product.

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