CVS Pharmacy goes tobacco-free

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CVS Caremark has announced that by Oct.1 their in-store tobacco sales will cease. Following the announcement, pharmacy President Helen Foulkes remarked that the company would renew the business’ “health and wellness” focus. Foulkes said that CVS has potential to eventually become a valid alternative to the doctor’s office.

There is speculation that the drugstore conglomerate’s move to eliminate tobacco products comes as a response to the recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Troyen Brennan, CVS Caremark’s chief medical officer, remarked that it is important to focus on the health of the company’s customers because it is expensive to cover those who are forced to use the ACA due to smoking-related problems.

Ultimately, the move to halt tobacco sales is estimated to cost CVS around $2 billion per year – 3 percent of overall sales – but the company has no plans to eviscerate its more than $17 million investment in tobacco-related stock. This stock is included in employee mutual fund offerings for the more than 200,000 CVS employees.

Though CVS representatives have outlined the company’s upcoming policy changes regarding the sale of conventional smoking products, it remains unclear what the absence of cigarettes and other tobacco products will mean for the sale of electronic cigarettes. The shape of the tobacco and tobacco-related product industry could be potentially shifted if CVS decides to take on the sale of electronic cigarettes as smoking cessation tools.

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