CVS Pharmacy, the second largest pharmacy chain in the United States, has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by Oct. 1. Meanwhile, other stores are holding firmly to their tobacco products. Although CVS will lose $2 billion from tobacco sales, other stores should make the health of customers a priority and follow their example.
According to the American Lung Association, cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable disease and death worldwide. These diseases claim over 393,000 American lives each year as well as $96 billion in direct health care spending.
Pharmacies are meant to help sick patients, with the promise that they can improve patients’ health if customers stay on their proper prescription medications; however, it would be highly ironic if tobacco is found directly behind the cashier’s counter. CVS’ discontinuation of the sale of tobacco products is a positive impact on many people’s health, which can lower smoking rates.
If other stores truly cared about the health of their customers, they should begin banning tobacco and cigarette products sales completely. Although stopping these sales come at a price, they will help smokers save money from reducing their health care bills and the ban may also save smokers’ lives. Smoking rates have not been reduced, but CVS made a good start in trying to help their customers manage their health.