What Do You Think About CVS’ Ban on Selling Cigarettes?

The move by the nation’s second largest pharmacy chain means a $2 billion loss in annual revenue.

Here’s the huge personal finance news of the day: CVS, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, announced it will no longer sell cigarettes or tobacco products of any kind. That seems like a big blow to Big Tobacco.

The announcement has gotten plenty of public reaction. President Obama, a former smoker himself, even praised the decision in a Twitter post. That in turn churned up plenty of pro and con tweets, plus questions about the ban and CVS’ motivation.

The move “reflects a major push by retail pharmacies away from simply dispensing drugs toward a more integrated role of providing basic health services to Americans,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

But that doesn’t mean other major pharmacy chains will do the same, at least not yet. Walgreens said evaluating its sale of tobacco products is an ongoing thing, CNN reports. Rite Aid apparently has no current plans to stop selling tobacco either.

Meanwhile, CNN says, Dollar General and Family Dollar have begun selling cigarettes.

Still, CVS’ move is huge. “It is a big deal — one of those death knell events the tobacco industry has feared for some time,” Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society, told USA Today.

What are the specifics? Here’s what CVS says:

  • Sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products will stop Oct. 1.
  • The ban will be in place at all of the more than 7,600 CVS U.S. locations.
  • In the spring the company will launch “a robust national smoking cessation program.”
  • The company estimates it will lose about $2 billion in revenue a year because of the ban.

CVS reportedly does not sell e-cigarettes.

What do you think about CVS’ move to ban tobacco products from its stores? Tell us below or on our Facebook page.

Karen Datko contributed to this article. 

Stacy Johnson

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  • Y2KJillian

    Good for them!

    • Robert Sheldahl

      I suggest you first read my reply to Sherrie Ludwig Before awarding them high honors from their latest decision

  • thought2u

    They. Need stop selling All a Candy/anything with sugar, All Alcohol
    Which causes many diseases & DUI & injuries, then stop the BIG
    Killer of RX’s that have known severe side effects + OTC drugs that can be Toxic and worse. Who is Paying a OFF CVS???

    • Dansere

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Bob K

      There is research evidence that one drink a day (2 for men) significantly reduces the risk of heart attacks. Some drink to excess and that is a problem. Sugar (and nearly all moderate to high calorie foods) is only problem for those that consume it in excess, particularly for those that are overweight due to inactivity. Sugar is a normal component of all fruit and fruit juices. There are ~500,000 that die early from smoking each year and another estimated ~50,000 that die early from second hand smoke. There are no positive health effects from smoking, period. All, but a very few, drugs have side effects. If research has proven (enough to convince the FDA) that the benefits outweighs the risks, the drugs are then approved for use, not before.

  • kcgoat

    when a company has a good pr man ,there is no telling what the plan is ,but you can bet your bottom dollar there is one for the future of that company . just wait and see

  • Sherrie Ludwig

    All the goofs yelling about sugar, candy, etc…..One thing at a time! I hate people who see some small progress, and they want the entire thing a done deal TODAY. Silly, this is a company putting their money where their mouth is. Don’t people WANT companies that practice what they preach? Let’s all see where this goes, how they fare. If a CVS were within fifty miles of where we live, our family would switch to them from Walgreens.

    • Robert Sheldahl

      I would think twice before believing they found there moral compass. Its all about profit, case and point. Check the PBS Newshour story onCVS price differences of 2100% on a new generic cancer prescriptions vs mom & pop. Look at how they make profit by selling lesser known new generics. I talking about a cancer drug that PBS covered. The new generics sold for $18 at a mom & pop drug store, The name brand sold for over $400, And this elderly women that paying out of pocket ask CVS about new generic and how much? comes back with a price above $370.

      My question, do they have a moral compass to profit so much from a out of pocket recovering cancer survivor? Oh it wasn’t isolated to CVS in all fairness. You would be surprised.

    • H4BAF

      It’s odd you have a Walgreens close by and not a CVS. Probably 99.9% of the time that I see one of them, I see the other on the opposite street corner.

      • Sherrie Ludwig

        We live in a rural area, near the IL-WI border. It’s Walgreens or the Osco pharmacy in the Jewel food store, or (shudder) WalMart.

      • Robert Sheldahl

        Maybe their community is too small for two chains that can sell generics for over $350 when a Mom & pop sells for $18.

  • disqus_A6K3VBf8Zn

    I am delighted by this CVS action.

    • Robert Sheldahl

      read my reply to Sherrie Ludwig Before it sets in that your so delighted

  • Hogsnot

    I love this ideal: People complain about regulation, this company is taking a stand. I heard the arguments believing the reason CVS made this decision was the loss due to shop lifting. Others believe its to win face in the public spot light. I believe regardless the motivation smoking is dangerous, it kills and from a financial point of view it cost the tax payers much more than they will ever know. I applaud CVS! BTW i was a smoker and when I did I cared little about myself. And I cared much less for anyone else. I quit because my life means something. When I look at my children I want them to get the best of me. And the best of me isn’t with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Ok, now that I am done with that, I will jump off my foot stool and have a bourbon and cigar…kidding

  • JHH

    Cigarettes tend to be a loss to the bottom line due to theft for retail operators like CVS. CVS no doubt looked at this and decided to eliminate a losing line item from their ledger but market it in such a way that it looks like they are doing so in the best interest of the general public. If CVS was serious, they would also cease sales of junk food and alcoholic beverages. This announcement is a tad hypocritical.

    • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

      The difference of course being that junk food can be consumed in moderation and have absolutely zero negative health consequences and it is debatable if the same can be said about alcohol… there is no debate on tobacco though, it is unhealthy end of debate. So, I’m not seeing the hypocrisy in selling products that can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the responsibility of the person consuming while discontinuing one that is never healthy.

    • Bob K

      Two drinks a day (men), one for women, reduces heart disease. That’s not really on the same page as cigs.

  • Roger Boaz

    Good idea!!!

    • Robert Sheldahl

      read my reply to Sherrie Ludwig then tell me what you think of CVS

      • Sherrie Ludwig

        I’m flattered you think so highly of my opinion. FOUR citiations? (so far, anyway) But you apparently did not read the WHOLE post (too long for you? Sorry.) “Let’s all see where this goes” was about halfway down. If a company does well by doing good, even unintentionally, then is the company still evil? Are you railing against companies, against cigarettes, against CVS specifically, or just to be heard?

        • Robert Sheldahl

          Sorry Sherrie, if read closer, it said “read my reply” and each citations was applied to those praising CVS. They are no saints

          I read yours and concluded you thought CVS was a good citizen and I say their actions speak for profit, Corporations have no soul, they are by law required to maximize they stock holders value.

          Read my reply closer, then check for yourself about the story on PBS, and if you see something I missed, tell us all.

          Oh by the way, if memory serves me right the story concludes that others like WALGREENS TARGET had priced over $350 on generic that mom & pop that has no clout in purchasing, sells it at $18.

  • Yak Yak Yak

    What do I think of it? I think it’s a GREAT EXCELLENT WONDERFUL decision!!!! CVS, you just made a loyal customer!

    • Robert Sheldahl

      read my reply to Sherrie Ludwig Before awarding them GREAT EXCELLENT WONDERFUL decision!!!!

  • CSCS7

    More surprised, but very happy. I didn’t think any retailer would ever do this. Cigarettes are very, very nasty. That smell is so toxic and repulsive. I’m also against alcohol and have never drank. What I hate more about cigarettes is that the smoke moves into other peoples’ space. On the other hand, drunk drivers kill people.

    Thank You CVS! Big step in the right direction.

    • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

      Yes, because every person who has ever had a beer in the comfort and safety of their homes have immediately gone out and driven putting people’s lives in danger… every person who has a glass of wine with dinner knowing that they have a designated driver is going to force the sober one to hand over the keys so they can drive drunk… every person who takes a cab to the bar is going to somehow steal a car just so they can drive drunk home. Believe it or not, it is possible to drink responsibly with no effect on those around you. There is without a doubt a drunk driving problem in our country, but lets put the blame and focus where it belongs, the people who make the choice to drive drunk, rather than demonizing anyone who has ever or will ever drink alcohol responsibly.

  • Cheryl

    As long as they don’t try to recoup the “loss” from customers by raising prices elsewhere, I think it’s a great idea.

  • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

    Umm… hypocrite much? First you deride CVS for violating smokers’ rights to buy tobacco if they want to, then you demand that they change their business model in violation of their rights. Welcome to the free market, sellers can decide what they want to sell, buyers can choose what they want to buy, if those two desires don’t line up a new seller will enter the market to fulfill the demand. CVS has decided they don’t want to sell tobacco, if people still wish to purchase it, there is nothing forcing them to shop at CVS, they can go to any other retailer that has decided to continue (or in the case of Dollar General or Family Dollar) or add tobacco sales.

  • Mike Collins

    they better ban alcohol also if they are going nanny state … booze & drunk drivers kill more outright than any smoke from cigarettes

    • Dansere


    • Bob K

      In the USA, there are approximately ~10,500 that die from drunk driving each year. There is research evidence that drinking one alcoholic drink a day (2 for men) significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. In the USA, here are over a 500,000 (half million) that die from smoking and another estimated ~50,000 that die from second hand smoke.

  • Robert Sheldahl

    Oh i think if you read my reply to Sherrie Ludwig it wiil give you a whole new perspective of CVS.

  • Dansere

    I agree!

  • Steve

    the problem is not CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid or any other drugstore…..the problem is western medicine in general. it practices treating illness with drugs. the real pharmacy is REAL living food, the produce section and plant based foods! Feed your body real food and you will get excellent results. Feed your body highly processed food, meats, sugar, soda, fried foods, etc and you will reap disease and chronic illness. You will also reap typical western medicine solutions, which are not solutions at all, but these drugs they prescribe will hit your wallet as well, not to mention the side effects.

    • Bob K

      Not really. We are omnivores, not herbivores. There is no evidence processing makes food harmful, either. In fact, there is strong evidence that for many foods, processing is extremely beneficial, e.g., pasteurization of milk. There are over 50 different diseases that cows can acquire and pass in their milk, that make humans very sick, even kill. Our biggest problem is obesity. We were number 1 in the world (Mexico just edged us out) in terms of the percentage of overweight individuals, which is approximately the same percentage as those that do not exercise regularly. Small to modest amounts of meat, fried foods and sweet foods, if consumed as part of a balanced diet, with lots of regular exercise is a very healthy lifestyle. The western medicine effect is a health food industry myth. The USA/Canada and Europe are knee deep in seniors, because of a combination of a factors (including good sanitation) but particularly access to good health care and sufficient, high quality, food.

      • Robert Sheldahl

        Steve right on target, Read the China Story, they have been studying the effects of rural vs urban. Some of the things they found was. That when the calories of meat exceed 10% of your daily diet, chronic diseases like heart and cancers increase.

        Read Plato Replic Plato’s Republic play written thousands of years ago, ” Unlike the vegetarian inhabitants of the first city, the members of this city eat meat (Rep. 373 c). Consequently, they will have a greater need for doctors ” WOW they saw problems back then.

        The big difference between western vs eastern is how they look at diseases. Western medicine looks at the body as a car needing new parts that wear out, Eastern look at how to prevent the parts from wearing out prematurely. Its like havig a leaky roof, with the ceiling falling in, and finding new plaster that wont fail in, instead of looking at why the water coming in.

    • Robert Sheldahl

      Its like the Farmington nurses studies, showed link of high cholesterol and coronary diseases. Where we failed to understand, its is a direct result of diet. Statins only reduce corinary deathjs by 33%. Change your diet, and go back to whole foods, veg fruits nuts and beans, and if you like meat you can but it needs to be less than 10% calories, It plummets down, over time. I went from over total of 200 to today 139. My bad LDL from 125 to now 72.. Now its 100% effective against chronic coronary diseases. I learned this from Dr Joel Furhman that was doing a fund raiser on PBS.

  • Steve

    To Bob K.
    man did not eat meat before the fall. Read Genesis chapter 1. God’s eating plan is there and it does not include meat. We are herbivores. Man chose to eat meat. God’s word tells us that many things are permissible, yet many of them are not beneficial. Obesity in the USA is certainly caused by a lack of exercise, but it is highly attributable to highly processed western diet. You cannot add genetically modified elements, additives, high fructose corn syrup, msg, partially hydrogenated oils, food dyes, etc to food consumed by humans and expect good results. The body does not recognize these things. They create inflammation which leads to disease. The proof is out there,,, millions of people with heart disease, diabetes, etc. These unnatural additives into food create artificial cravings for more. Try it for yourself. Go vegetarian, stay away from meat, processed foods and dairy, especially milk, soda, alcohol. Drink only pure water. Eat fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, soy, grains like quinoa, ammarith, barley, etc. You will feel better, have more energy and many health issues will subside because you are feeding your body real food. We many have lots of “seniors”, but we don’t have a high percentage who are healthy. The percentage of young Americans who are healthy is shrinking. We have two generations of young people who have grown up eating junk foods, highly processed foods, convenience foods, etc. Disease is showing up at younger ages due to this way of eating. Don’t just have a “follow the crowd” mentality, but rather do some research, …..watch many of the food documentaries available on Netflix or Amazon. You will be glad in the end.

    • Bob K

      Neither the bible, the Koran nor a food documentary is a useful, good or reputable source of scientific information. What you describe as research, is only research to you, not to anyone in the scientific community. My basis for information is scientific experiments published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and not somewhere where someone is trying to push their particular agenda. Your mixture of political agenda and religious agenda based information, plus a lot of silly myths is a sad commentary on the absence of scientific knowledge among the general populace. You are misinformed on a wide variety of topics. Two good examples, high fructose corn syrup is the same mix of glucose and fructose as in honey and grapes. Milk has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years specifically to nourish young mammals. Nothing else on this planet has or has ever had that function. It is the closest thing we have to a perfect food. While a balanced diet and exercise is the best approach, your are sadly misinformed about a wide variety of foods.

  • Steve

    to Bob K
    So Bob, you’re saying that YOU and your “ban of scientists” know more than God? You sir are misinformed. Who pays for this scientific research you speak of? Why of course,…it’s the meat, poultry and dairy industry! Of course the “research” is going to have the outcomes the food manufacturers and processors desire to sell their “frankenfood” to the generally dumb public. The public trust has been violated by these giant food industries. The stuff that passes for food on the grocery store shelves today offers no real nutritional value, and much of it, including HFCS is toxic to the human body. The rise of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, neurological disease are evidence that the food supply has been compromised. Never in the history of America have such rates of disease been this high and continue to climb. How can this be explained otherwise? Why are millions of children on Riddelin, the drug for ADHD? Why are there millions of cases of ADHD today? This was unheard of a50 years ago. Could it be the constant flow of empty sugar calories children are fed? via processed food? Everyone sir has an “agenda”. Mine is for the truth to be made known so that free people can make their own decisions about what to eat. Currently, the truth is suppressed. Biased “research” to be done to fool the public and further line the already deep pockets of the giant factory farming food processing model that exists today in America.

  • Ruth

    I have read these comments and nobody seems to think that CVS might have other motives, perhaps they were caught selling to minors and are trying to reduce liability. CVS’s prices are generally higher than regular stores for the same product, so I don’t think that their profits will be cut that dramatically. So if the PR department is in trouble about selling to minors, and wants to spin it that the company is taking a step towards your health and stop selling tobacco products to everyone, the fines are reduces for the the selling to minors and the company looks great.

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