Corporate Responsibility: CVS Quits for Good

In a bold move, retail pharmacy giant, CVS / pharmacy announced their commitment to end the sale of tobacco products.

In a statement released on the company's website, CVS president and CEO, Larry J. Merlo stated, "The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."

CVS, one of the country's largest health and wellness providers, with over 7,600 stores, plans to have all tobacco-related products off their shelves by October 1st.

"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," said Merlo.

Staten Island University Hospital's director of Complementary Medicine and Tobacco Cessation Center, Kerry Gillespie agrees.

"It makes perfect sense," said Gillespie. "CVS is a health and wellness retailer, they recognize the contradiction in business model: selling health products while selling the leading cause of preventable death in the country."

Gillespie notes a similar health stance SIUH's took in 2010, "We went tobacco-free on our grounds for the same reasons, to create a healthy environment for our patients."

Gillespie feels this is a huge win in the fight in access to tobacco products and commends the company's move, but believes big tobacco will promote other outlets.

"CVS is paving the way for other large health and wellness retailers to make the same change -this is great news. Unfortunately, cigarettes are very profitable, and there will be someone, somewhere who will sell them. Tobacco companies have money to burn in advertising and will get their product out their – especially to children."

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