Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

Need some cigarettes?  You won’t be stopping by your local CVS to pick up a pack come October.  CVS announced that it will cease selling cigarettes later this year.

“We’ve got 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners who are helping millions of patients each and every day,” said Larry Merlo, the chief executive of CVS Caremark. “They manage conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes — all conditions that are worsened by smoking. We’ve come to the decision that cigarettes have no place in an environment where healthcare is being delivered.”

Score one for awesome spin! CVS is making this move as a way to force Americans to make better decisions and get healthier.  It’s amazing that a for-profit company would take a hit to CVS’s bottom line in an effort to curb America’s smoking habit.  What a selfless move by the drugstore chain to get Americans to be healthier.  How awesome that they figured out the hypocrisy in selling cigarettes while filling prescriptions for things like high blood pressure and asthma.

I’m a frequent CVS shopper and I’m compiling a list of things I need on my next trip:

2 bottles of white wine – sorry liver

3 bags of valentine’s candy – sorry blood sugar

1 carton of ice cream – sorry cholesterol

and finally 1 box of diet pills – sorry heart

The good news is my lungs are thrilled that I can’t buy cigarettes.

What’s my point?  There has to be more to this story than CVS just doing this for the good of our lungs.  Maybe I’m just old and jaded, but rarely does a company just do things to better America.  Take the hotel industry, their “go green” initiative about not washing sheets and towels every day “saves the environment”, but you can’t deny the fact that they save millions in water and cleaning costs per year.

From an article from Forbes:

“CVS, like rivals Walgreen WAG +2.31% and Rite-Aid Corporation, is seeing a dramatic change to its business as it focuses less on taking marginal revenue out of drug sales and more on larger agreements with hospitals and insurance companies.”

Oh, so CVS is trying to strike bigger deals with insurance companies.  By not offering cigarettes, they probably will be able to get a bigger share of the health care market.”

More from the article:

“These new efforts have led CVS to work more closely with hospitals, doctors’ networks, and what are called Accountable Care Organizations, new types of organizations encouraged by Obamacare in which doctors agree to be paid not for every stitch, prescription, or procedure but based on how well patients do after treatment.”

CVS has announced it will start a comprehensive smoking cessation program as well.

Overall, I think CVS is making a smart move by not selling cigarettes.  I am a former smoker and I don’t like cigarettes, but I’m not going to let them get away with the idea that this is just for the good of the American people.  Where private business is concerned, rarely are moves made that don’t improve the bottom-line.

Oh, I forgot to add a big bottle of Vodka to my list.  I hear it’s good for my circulation.





8 thoughts on “Say goodbye tobacco. CVS not selling cigs

  1. I know that in the days of yore, when cigarettes were promoted as healthy, it was common for pharmacies to carry them (along with arsenic to give your skin a healthy glow). I am always surprised by the number of people who still go to the pharmacy for their cigarettes because they tend to have the greatest selection. I found it amazing that pharmacies still sell them, but I figure their sales probably kept many small-town home-grown pharmacies afloat. Like you, I wonder what changed to make it a better choice for CVS NOT to sell them?

  2. PS. Our Kansas CVS stores don’t sell vodka. Maybe they should?

    1. Come to Missouri friend-you will find a large selection of booze!

      1. LOL. It was like that when I lived in Los Angeles. I actually really liked being able to go to a grocery store and pick up a nice bottle of wine to go with the dinner fixings I was shopping for. In Kansas, I get to go to the liquor store, where all of my friends and coworkers can drive by and wave and ponder if I’ll be boozing it up for the weekend.

  3. Jim L says:

    I certainly wouldn’t trust CVS or any of the “healthcare corps” to have our best interests at heart. They are completely focused on the profit margin and any benefit for us is a side effect of the profit motive. CVS and Walgreen’s have seemed for some time like they wanted to be more of a grocery store/convenience store model. Perhaps now we’ve all started going to them enough for minor healthcare issues that they do see more growth there.

    I’d at least feel a little more charitable about their profit motive if their prices weren’t so unbelievably high. As always, they’re not you friends and business is business. Any loyalty should be based on who has the best deal!!

    1. Jim,

      I agree with you. I am a frequent prescription filler and I’ve recently realized how much more expensive CVS is versus other drug stores. I’ve moved all of my prescriptions from them to another chain.

      It really always comes down to profit. I wish I wasn’t so jaded…

  4. Maury says:

    Well, I’ll buy my smokes somewhere else. Problem solved.

  5. joeketch says:

    Good observation that the hypocritical jerks are still selling alcohol and candy bars. Obesity causes higher increase in health care costs than tobacco – 3 times as high according to some detailed studies.

    And I suppose they will not hesitate to sell pot, since it’s “medicinal”.

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