CVS burning up over cigarettes

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CVS is burning profit to help its image as a provider of medical services.

Cigarettes are part of American life and cultural history, but it was not until 1964 that science proved smoking causes severe health problems. Despite this, smoking is still a common sight in everyday life.

One of the most common places to buy tobacco is at a pharmacy.

CVS/Pharmacy recently announced their decision to withdraw all tobacco products from the shelves of their 7,600 stores nationwide.

Decatur’s local store is no exception to the company plan. Valerie Copeland, manager at Decatur’s local CVS, promises to have tobacco off shelves by October 1st.

CVS’ CEO, Larry J. Merlo, told CNN that selling cigarettes is “inconsistent with [their] purpose… Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

President Barack Obama praised this decision in a statement, saying CVS “sets a powerful example” and is “ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.”

Still, while this decision will certainly make CVS seem more saintly from a pharmaceutical point of view, Forbes speculates that the ban will not make a noticeable dent in US tobacco consumption. According to Forbes.com, Dollar General third-quarter profit rose by 14% thanks to increased customers, and it’s likely that those customers came because of cigarettes.

Trivia Mapp, who manages Decatur’s Family Dollar (of no relation to Dollar General), doesn’t believe that CVS’ ban will impact citywide tobacco usage.

“People will just come and buy cigarettes here,” she said.

While a tobacco-free America may be a ways away, some find CVS’ decision to be a step in the right direction.