7,600 stores will be saying no to nicotine come fall as one of the country's largest pharmacy chains takes tobacco products off its shelves. Innae Park reports.
NATIONWIDE -- You've only got a few more months before cigarettes are no longer behind the counter at your local CVS pharmacy. The parent company announced Wednesday that it will no longer sell them and tobacco products by October 1 of this year.
CVS Caremark President, CEO Larry Merlo said, “It became clear that removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do.”
Dan Moran, the chairman of the New York State Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association says it’s a great start. “Walking by the candy counter, if the candy bar there, you're going to buy it. If the cigarettes are there, you might buy it. If it's not on the shelves, one less opportunity.”
At the same time, Moran argues much more needs to be done to put it to a stop.
“Kids between 0 and 17 years old, 279,000 [of them] are projected to die from smoking. So it's a huge issue,” said Moran.
CVS isn't alone in taking tobacco off the shelves. In the Capital District, Marra's Pharmacy in Cohoes also decided to cut their tobacco sales years ago. While there was been a financial impact, owner Assemblyman John McDonald say the ultimate goal is worth it.
“We came at peace, saying, if we're going to be health care professionals, we need to take the proper steps and walk the walk and talk the talk,” said McDonald.
CVS Caremark anticipates losing $2 billion a year in revenue. However, they say what they lose is worth it for who they will save.
In addition to cutting these sales, Merlo announced the planned launch of a nationwide smoking cessation program for this spring.