Bay Area CVS Stores to Stop Selling Cigarettes, Tobacco Products

The drug store chain vows to stop selling all tobacco products in its stores by Oct. 1 this year.

Thousands of CVS pharmacies across the nation will soon no longer be selling tobacco products, our local Bay area stores included.

"Today, CVS Caremark is announcing a significant step toward promoting better health with our decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in our stores by Oct. 1 of this year," CEO Larry Merlo announced in a video posted on the company's website.  "We're the first national pharmacy chain to step up and take this action."

Merlo cited recent changes in how Americans get healthcare and an increasing emphasis on preventative care as some of the reasons behind the decision, which will affect all of its more than 7,600 stores.

"Every day we are helping millions of patients manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes-- and all of these conditions are made worse by smoking,"  he said. 

"Tobacco products have no place in a setting where healthcare is delivered.... Removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do."

The company immediately took to social media with the news, and a Facebook post from Wednesday morning already had nearly 50,000 'likes' and 37,000 'shares' by 9:15 a.m.

"I will choose CVS over other stores just because of this," one person commented.

"I think it's an incredibly bold and wonderful move, especially considering the amount of money you may possibly lose. Good Job CVS!" another said.

But not everyone was happy with the announcement.

"Sorry I can't stand with you on this one....Non smokers as well as smokers have rights and it is up to us to make our own decisions and not have the government or any one single entity or company to make our decisions for us..." another person on Facebook wrote to CVS.

Even President Obama weighed in on the CVS decision to stop selling tobacco, issuing the following statement Wednesday morning: 

I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores, and begin a national campaign to help millions of Americans quit smoking instead.  

As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision 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.  

I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.

What do YOU think of this decision?  Tell us in the comments.

Greg Coladonato February 06, 2014 at 03:28 PM
Mike, don't the people who run CVS get to make their own choices? There are still plenty of places where people can buy their tobacco products, no one is taking that choice away. While we're on the topic of products that don't promote health -- why do Walgreens and CVS still sell soda and candy?
Larry Arzie February 06, 2014 at 04:30 PM
I don't think this is a altruistic as CVS is trying to make it seem. Sales are declining and lawsuits are inevitable. It is just a hop skip and jump before class actions suits are filed for selling know carcinogens by retailers. Big corporations may be as legally responsible for doing this as tobacco companies.
Unsuscribed. February 07, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Kudos to CVS, I smoked for half a century and quit three years ago, I am one of the lucky ones.
Phillip Bailey February 07, 2014 at 04:46 PM
Mike (above said) How about letting us make our own choices? PC is alive and well at CVS. By the way, what a dumb name for a drug store. I miss Long's. Gee Mike C.V.S. is the acronym and once stood for Consumer Value Store. It now stands for 'Convenience-Value and Service. I personally think CVS should be applauded for this. Smokers just don't SMOKE ... they walk into establishments and sit down near non smokers and the smokers often REEK of cigarette smoke and REEK is an understatement.
Bob Rosenthal February 08, 2014 at 03:20 PM
I'm elated to see the stance CVS has taken. I quit smoking 12 years ago after 60 years of smoking. I could feel a difference almost immediately. I had triple bypass surgery three years ago as a result of smoking. If people want to smoke their brains out I have no problem. Freedom of choice. However, I feel that CVS should also discontinue the sale of all alcoholic beverages. Same goes for Walgreens. How can a drug store sell cigs and alcohol and the sell drugs to combat the effects of same? How can the citizenry allow this to happen and on the other hand vote to ban the sale of guns? Makes no sense to me.


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