CVS Pharmacy announced on Feb. 5 the drugstore plans to stop the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products by October in its 7,600 pharmacies nationwide.
The decision was made after a report was released from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). CVS Chief Medical Officer Troyen Brennan told JAMA the drugstore industry is positioning itself to offer more clinical services for chronic disease.
Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for CVS, said the sale of any tobacco products will be eliminated from CVS pharmacies.
CVS realized the paradox of selling tobacco products and cigarettes, but representing pharmacies which work in primary care to treat hypertension, diabetes and other conditions inflicted from smoking.
Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including an estimated 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The medical costs associated with cigarette use can be appraised to $132 billion in direct medical costs and $157 billion in lost productivity, according to recent estimates in the JAMA.
CVS claims it could lose an estimated $2 billion in sales of tobacco and tobacco related products, such as gums customers might purchase.
“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company,” DeAngelis said.
“The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose — helping people on their path to better health.”
But the buck may not stop here in CVS’s interest for the public’s well-being.
The next target on the list under consideration is soda and other sugar-related products.
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found people whose added sugars comprise between 10 to 25 percent of their calories were at a 30 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease.