The second largest national pharmacy chain, CVS Caremark, made it public that they have
decided to take all tobacco products off their shelves for good by October of this year. As
someone who smokes, this decision will affect me, but maybe it’s for the better. When I first heard this news I honestly thought, “Oh no, that sucks!” because CVS as somewhere I would frequently purchase cigarettes. It was a convenient place to grab them and they would often have “dollar off sales.” However, after thinking about it a little bit more, I realized, it doesn’t really make sense that they would sell something so harmful in a place that promotes health. I think it was definitely a huge risk that they took that has many positives and negatives.
Part of me questions how much of the decision was based on the company actually caring about their customers and how much of it was a marketing scheme, because they still sell plenty of products that do not promote good health (soda, malt beverages, candy, etc.). I brought this up to my friends, some of which are smokers as well, and they said that they probably won’t go into CVS as frequently because they have no reason to anymore. My friend also mentioned that it won’t really affect her or help her quit because what’s stopping her from going down the street to Walgreens or the nearest gas station? So, on top of losing an estimated $1.5 billion annually on tobacco products, they will also lose a large customer base.
On the other hand, this decision will attract people trying to quit, as well as nonsmokers because this idea that “CVS cares” is now in the back of their head. I know that one day soon I will seriously want to quit, and with CVS’s new beefed up antismoking campaign, they will probably gain my loyalty. In the end, I think that this was a great, praiseworthy step towards promoting a healthier lifestyle and a great marketing campaign, but I wouldn’t go out and invest in CVS stock.