CVS Caremark recently announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the United States by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers. In response, ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, has issued the following statement:
“CVS Caremark should be commended for its courageous decision to stop selling tobacco products in all of its pharmacy stores. The oncology community is extremely grateful that CVS Caremark recognized that support for tobacco use has no place in any health-care facility and took action. We hope this is an inspirational example of corporate responsibility for others to follow.
“Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer in the world and also worsens the prognosis of people already diagnosed with many types of cancer. Overall, tobacco kills more than 480,000 Americans each year, and more than 4 million people worldwide, shortening smokers’ lives, on average, by more than 7 years.
“We urge all pharmacies and other businesses that still sell tobacco products to follow CVS Caremark’s lead.”
“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
CVS Caremark’s decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, and American Pharmacists Association, which have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets with pharmacies.
The company estimates that it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the tobacco shopper. ■