Recent news to hit the tobacco cigarette industry was that CVS has decided to drop tobacco sales from all of their 7,600 locations throughout the country. Set to go into effect on October 1, the move marks the company’s decision to create a more healthful image. CVS Caremark is the nation’s largest pharmacy, based on their prescription revenue, and this move to end tobacco sales has been praised by both President Obama and a variety of different health organizations.
While CVS cultivates a healthier image, they are facing a loss of approximately $2 billion yearly. Some industry experts see that number as being on the lower end, and depending on market conditions they may face even greater losses as a result of the change.
CVS cites the Affordable Care Act as their main motive in changing, however they have long stood by prevention as the best health strategy. Despite the financial ramifications, CVS’s president and CEO, Larry J. Merlo, has stated that selling tobacco is not in line with their values. “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” he said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
Interestingly, none of CVS’s competitors are considering the same cessation of tobacco sales. Considering that tobacco sales internationally topped the $554 billion mark in 2012, CVS tobacco sales account for a minute amount of that total.
Perhaps, however, it is time that CVS followed the lead of some of their competitors, such as Walgreens, which has sold electronic cigarettes for several years. While they are similar to traditional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes would have no problems fitting in with their more progressive image.
Even though this move is extremely bold, it certainly makes sense in terms of responsibility. It is obvious that the tobacco industry, as well as the electronic cigarette industry are in a point of major transition, and it will surely be interesting to see which retailers in the near future take the same stance as CVS. In the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing an e-cigarette starter kit, or want to learn more about them, feel free to browse our resources as well as products!