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Good News Fridays: Praising CVS Pharmacy To Stop Selling Tobacco

Geek Alabama Good News Fridays

This week, a major pharmacy chain made a big decision.  CVS Pharmacy will stop selling all tobacco and cigarette products later this year.  And this is a big money decision for CVS.  CVS Caremark estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers — $1.5 billion in the form of tobacco sales and the rest from other products tobacco shoppers purchase while in a CVS store.  The ban on all tobacco products will be complete by October 1st.

I commend CVS Pharmacy for ending the sale of tobacco products.  CVS will launch a national smoking-cessation program in the spring.  And they will continue to sell smoking cessation products such as nicotine patches or gum.  CVS is hoping some smokers will quit the habit after seeing that their tobacco products are no longer being sold at their stores.  And as you know, smoking and second-hand smoke is very bad for you.  Smoking and breathing in cigarette smoke causes cancer, stroke, heart disease, and lung disease.  According to the CDC, more than 5 million deaths per year are caused by tobacco use. And smokers also tend to die 10 years before nonsmokers.  I also applaud the FDA for doing The Real Cost campaign aimed at teens.  Here are two of their ads: (NSFW)

CVS wants to see all pharmacies end the selling of tobacco products.  And I really hope that happens, because in my opinion, tobacco and smoking sucks!  According to the feds, some 3,200 children under 18 will try a cigarette and 700 will go on to become daily smokers. That means, 5.6 million American children alive today will die premature deaths because of diseases linked to smoking.  CVS is starting a transformation from an average retail store with a pharmacy to a health care provider.  CVS sees its future as an alternative to the doctor’s office, with 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners counseling customers about how to control their high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  And that is a good thing!

CVS wants to see its stores offering more mini-clinics and health advice to aid customers visiting its pharmacies.  But here is one big question, we already know that smoking is very bad for you.  But so is drinking alcohol, and eating junk food.  Is CVS Pharmacy willing to take their healthy visions and ban other unhealthy things along with tobacco products?  Sure, junk food makes a lot of money for CVS, but eating lots and lots of junk food can cause the same health problems smoking does.  CVS told the media that junk food and alcohol, in moderation, do not have the same adverse effects as the use of tobacco.  Really?

So you can still go to CVS Pharmacy and fill your cart with Snickers, chips, Oreos, and canned soda and then go pick up your insulin?  If CVS Pharmacy wants to truly transform the retail landscape and make sure everyone is healthy, then they would ban all alcohol and junk food products.  They would set standards for food and only food with healthy standards would be allowed inside a CVS Pharmacy.  Yes, banning all alcohol and junk food would be a big hit to the profit of CVS.  But it would show all people that CVS Pharmacy wants to care about the health of everybody, not just the ones who smoke.

My plea to CVS Pharmacy, thank you for taking a stand to banning all tobacco products inside your stores.  But please take this to the next step, and ban all alcohol products used to drink and all junk food with unhealthy ingredients and high fat and calories.  If you do that, then you will become a great health store that cares about the well-being of everyone.

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