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Bay Area CVS Stores to Stop Selling Cigarettes, Tobacco Products

The drug store chain vows to stop selling all tobacco products in its stores by Oct. 1 this year.

Thousands of CVS pharmacies across the nation will soon no longer be selling tobacco products, our local Bay area stores included.

"Today, CVS Caremark is announcing a significant step toward promoting better health with our decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in our stores by Oct. 1 of this year,"  CEO Larry Merlo announced in a video posted on the company's website.  "We're the first national pharmacy chain to step up and take this action."

Merlo cited recent changes in how Americans get healthcare and an increasing emphasis on preventative care as some of the reasons behind the decision, which will affect all of its more than 7,600 stores.

"Every day we are helping millions of patients manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes-- and all of these conditions are made worse by smoking,"  he said. 

"Tobacco products have no place in a setting where healthcare is delivered.... Removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do."

The company immediately took to social media with the news, and a Facebook post from Wednesday morning already had nearly 50,000 'likes' and 37,000 'shares' by 9:15 a.m.

"I will choose CVS over other stores just because of this," one person commented.

"I think it's an incredibly bold and wonderful move, especially considering the amount of money you may possibly lose. Good Job CVS!" another said.

But not everyone was happy with the announcement.

"Sorry I can't stand with you on this one....Non smokers as well as smokers have rights and it is up to us to make our own decisions and not have the government or any one single entity or company to make our decisions for us..." another person on Facebook wrote to CVS.

Even President Obama weighed in on the CVS decision to stop selling tobacco, issuing the following statement Wednesday morning: 

I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores, and begin a national campaign to help millions of Americans quit smoking instead. 

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.  

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.

What do YOU think of this decision?  Tell us in the comments.


Rick Melin February 05, 2014 at 12:57 PM
By the way i'm a non-smoker and like what cvs is doing.
Scott February 05, 2014 at 01:39 PM
What a misleading headline. CVS is doing this at ALL their stores, not just in the Bay Area. Is Patch so desperate to show it's content is "local" that it has to mislead like this?
Citizen February 05, 2014 at 08:13 PM
BTW: I'm a non-smoker and I DON'T like what CVS is doing. Are they going to stop selling alcohol, wine, beer, candy, sweet pastries, all sorts of chips, all of the assorted colas or any of the other probably thousands of products that are detrimental to one's health? IMO: This is the first (and not the last) strike against the freedom of people to live their lives as they see fit. They will continue to restrict your choices for their 'Preventative Health Care'. This is the pertinent statement in the article - tells you everything you need to know about our NEW healthcare in this country. ......Merlo cited recent changes in how Americans get healthcare and an increasing emphasis on preventative care as some of the reasons behind the decision.....
Frank O'Shea February 06, 2014 at 01:25 AM
Scott: You're right! The headline is misleading. I think that it specificially says the Bay Area so that it appears that Renee Schiavone is covering the story locally. Renee lives in Riverside.
Sam February 06, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Wow What a bunch of wacko posters who need a life . Have a neighbor read you the article if you can't read.
John Hess February 06, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Think of how many other stores carry cigs? Every gas station and supermarket will gladly help you puff. CVS probably decided that the number of smokers was dropping too low to make carrying them profitable.
Allen February 06, 2014 at 09:29 PM
All, apolitically speaking, it is their choice to sell or not to sell and yours to shop or not to shop.

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