CVS Pharmacy Pulling Tobacco Products - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

CVS Pharmacy Pulling Tobacco Products

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By: Claire Powell


The second largest pharmacy in the nation announced that they'll be pulling all tobacco products off of their shelves.

CVS Caremark said they made the decision because, "it was an inconsistency in their push for better health care."  

"I think we've come to the conclusion that tobacco, where health care is being administered, just don't go together," said Larry Merlo, President of CVS Caremark Pharmacy.

They hope to have all stores free of tobacco by October 1, 2014. This decision also makes them the first national chain to make this move.

They want to eliminate their connection to the products that cause heart disease and cancer, even if it means losing $2 billion in annual revenue.

"We're part of the overall health care team. It's really antithetical as a result to have the product in our store, tobacco, that causes these kinds of diseases," Troy Brennan, Executive Vice President at CVS Caremark.

In Iowa, the American Cancer Society is on board with the decision.

"We're really excited they took the initiative to be the first one to reduce the sale of tobacco," said Jen Schulte, American Cancer Society.

In Iowa, tobacco products count for an estimated 4,500 deaths every year and is the leading cause of preventable death.

Even Iowans, who smoke, are supporting the change.

"I think it's awesome. You know, it's promoting health and wellness, it's a big step, and it's brave but I think a lot of people will support it. It's always interesting you come to a place to get medication or other health care supplies, yet they sell cigarettes and alcohol," said an Iowan.

"We are excited about CVS Caremark Pharmacy's decision to do this because we know restricting access to tobacco has a direct positive impact on smoking rates," said Schulte.

CVS plans to announce a smoking-cessation program in the spring to give people the resources to stop using the addictive products.  

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