Editorial: CVS stores revoke the smoke


CVS shoppers will have to get their smokes elsewhere because the U.S. pharmacy recently announced it would phase out the sale of cigarettes by Oct. 1. The company’s move is bold and brave.

This is the first time a national chain pharmacy has taken tobacco products off its shelves. CVS Caremark CEO Larry J. Merlo said the goal of removing the products is to send a message of better health to its customers as well as remain consistent with the company’s goal of promoting health.

This step to cease selling tobacco products is one other pharmacies and companies should follow.

Cigarettes are proven to be horrible for health. The National Cancer Institute states tobacco is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S.

The institute published statistics that show 443,000 people die from cigarette smoke each year, nearly twice the amount of people that live in McLennan County, and 49,000 of those are caused by secondhand smoke.

Cigarettes affect not just the person who smokes them, but also those who are close enough to breathe in secondhand smoke.

According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lung cancer causes the most cancer-related deaths in the U.S. Ninty percent of lung cancer in men and 80 percent of lung cancer in women is caused by smoking.

The decision to pull tobacco products from shelves is a way to help this problem. By not selling the cigarettes, the company is expressing a desire to shift society to be healthier. Illnesses caused by smoking are preventable, so this is a way to prevent them.

Some people would argue that it is their right to purchase cigarettes, and it is. However, it is the right of CVS Caremark, as a private company, to cease selling them.

The decision would cut about $2 billion in sales for CVS stores. However, in 2012 the company generated $123 billion in sales, so the company isn’t losing much in way of profits.

People who buy cigarettes could spend their money on other essentials.

In fact, the cost of smoking cigarettes outweighs the cost of not selling them. The CDC states tobacco use costs the US about $289 billion a year, which includes $133 billion for medical care for tobacco-related illnesses and $156 billion in lost productivity.

President Barack Obama commended the decision to stop selling cigarettes. Obama was once a smoker, but in 2011 first lady Michelle Obama said he kicked the habit.

For those who choose not to stop smoking, other stores continue to sell cigarettes. However, some stores such as Walgreens are currently evaluating whether to also pull tobacco products.

Some people have criticized the decision, saying that the store should stop selling foods high in sodium or sugar if health is the main concern.

These foods are not bad for health in moderation, and there is no such thing as secondhand cholesterol.

While tobacco industries continue to produce tobacco products, as is their right, it is good CVS set an example for other companies to help fight preventable illnesses caused by tobacco.

More stores should follow their lead.