Is CVS a pioneer in smoking prevention or just plain dumb?

02/10/14 by Rennie Detore

CVS Caremark isn't try to burn any bridges by banning the sale of cigarettes in their store as of October 1, 2014. They're just trying to light a fire under those who are trying to quit smoking for good and simply raise awareness of cigarettes addictive nature.
Less than a week ago, Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS indirectly decreed that money was no object as the drug store retailer has opted to stop selling cigarettes in their stores, a decision that will cost the store roughly two billion dollars in sales.
Merlo was quoted as saying the sale of cigarettes goes against its primary responsibility as a drug store and is "inconsistent with its purpose." Simply put, CVS wants to be known as curing, helping and assisting the ailing, rather than perpetuating a habit that leads to everything from discoloration of the teeth to lung cancer.


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To some surprise, CVS and its anti smoking campaign of sorts has been laughed at as much as its been lauded. Those who fall into the former are accusing CVS of using this bold, extreme move as a glorified public relations stunt. The point to the fact that CVS losing two billion dollars (compared to the 100 plus billion revenue they generate) as akin to the general consumer misplacing $20.
Given the propensity of heavyweight retailers like CVS to count every last cent it makes, that logic feels a bit flawed. CVS feels like its making an honest attempt at doing its part based on the business it is in, and staying true to what a drug store essentially should be.
And truthfully, if CVS made the call to quit selling cigarettes with equal parts good will and public adulation in mind, that shouldn't overshadow the actual act of doing away with a product that is incredibly detrimental to the health and wellness of the masses.
If Merlo is making the rounds on television shows across the country or getting a figurative pat on the back from the likes of President Barrack Obama for being a pioneer in the retail business, then so be it. Instead of looking at those congratulatory or positive acts as pandering by CVS for more customers or unbridled support of the consumer, the company should be praised for positioning themselves as far away from a bad habit as possible.
Proof that this proclamation isn't just blowing smoke, CVS also is undertaking a program that is geared toward touting the negatives of tobacco and smoking, and counteracting men, women and especially children from either continuing or starting smoking.
Kudos to CVS for using its status as the second largest drug store chain to promote against smoking and finally taking a much needed stand against tobacco companies, and more importantly making their mission statement feel more like a genuine gesture, rather than generic rhetoric.

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