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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

February 5, 2014 - 8:07 am

Drugstore chain CVS got a shout out from President Obama after announcing this morning that it would stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores across the country.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

“As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace,” Merlo added.

The company cited a Journal of the American Medical Association study published online this morning by CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. that essentially said it’s hypocritical for a pharmacy that’s been offering more and more health screenings and vaccinations to sell cigarettes.

“Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use,” Brennan said.

Obama said in a statement that he applauded the company’s news.

“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” Obama said. “I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.”

Anti-tobacco legislators were similarly enthused. “Other stores should follow CVS’ lead by making this decision to help reduce health care costs and save countless lives,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). “Tobacco is the only legal product that kills customers who use it as intended, and it should be completely removed from the marketplace.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
I've heard from several people who say that their Obamacare policies allow them to ONLY use CVS pharmacies, not Walgreens or Rite-Aid. If so, this decision makes more sense. Better health for customers? Pshaw. They sell more sugared/salty products than anyone except Walmart around here, and their liquor aisle is pretty darned large. Let's face it: CVS is a convenience store with a pharmacy in back. They're a Slurpee machine short of being a 7-11.

They can do whatever they want, but giving up 2 billion in revenue without some financial incentives from somewhere in this economy is suicidal. Since Barry made a statement within 2 hours of this announcement, I think my premise above is probably on track. Some sweet taxpayer O-care money getting funneled into the corporate coffers.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hmm - maybe some smoker will sue CVS for this?
After all haven't some lefties sued pharmacies for not carrying the morning-after pill?

If this CEO thinks this move is going to make thousands or millions of smokers stop smoking maybe its time for a mental checkup for this CEO.

45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't smoke, but CVS just lost me as a customer.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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my friend's ex-wife makes $85 /hr on the computer . She has been without a job for eight months but last month her pay was $16032 just working on the computer for a few hours. have a peek here.......http://www.work71.com
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Will CVS start carrying marijuana in Colorado and Washington?

It is mutagenic and is bound to cause cancer also.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
They should have said facetiously that they were getting ready for pot legalization because pot is cool with the crowd that disses cigarettes
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
CVS is making room for choom.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
This will SAVE LIVES!!! because nobody could buy smokes anywhere else if they bought from CVS in the past.

That's good news, but in less optimal news a local grocery store closed; so thousands of my neighbors will now starve to death.

What? By the Obama-logic of economics they have no choice as they can't go to another store to make the purchase they would have made at the store that closed... right?

Or are you trying to tell me Obama is laughably wrong on economics here? What are you, racist or something?!
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Many people will have to drive farther for their drug of choice. Can we say more global warming? Oh the humanity! ;)
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
he's ok with this becoz later in life the gov. will let you die in the hospital becoz of obamacare--they win either way--no more smoking and no high hospital costs in the future
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Good move by CVS (although one wonders whether they just weren't making enough money on cigarettes for the hassle) and with CVS having some 7k stores it is certainly ok that Obama gives them kudos. Its an important public health issue.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I quit smoking last July. I had smoked for 35 years so I still have a smoker's mentality about things like this so this whole story is just silly to me.

A drug store stops selling cigarettes because they aren't healthy. They have a point. Even when I smoked I knew they weren't healthy. But if the store still sells chocolate bars, potato chips and soda they are still selling unhealthy things.

I am in favor of the legalization of marijuana. The fact that marijuana is becoming acceptable just as tobacco is being shunned seems strange to me.

I have no problem with CVS not selling tobacco. I don't think the decision is praiseworthy, but they have a right to sell or not sell anything that's legal to sell.

And tobacco will be legal for at least the next few years (I think).
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
CVS Stops Cigarette Sales to Protect Customers’ Health, Still Sells Abortion-Causing Plan B Drug 2/5/14

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/02/05/cvs-stops-cigarette-sales-to-protect-customers-health-still-sells-abortion-causing-plan-b-drug/
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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