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CVS snuffs out tobacco products

By Nick Ramsey
On February 10, 2014

CVS Caremark (CVS) announced Wednesday, Feb. 5 it will stop selling all tobacco products in all of its 7,600 stores by October 2014. CVS is the first pharmaceutical chain to make this move.

CVS predicts it will lose $2 billion in sales, but that is only 1.6 percent of the $125 billion CVS brings in annually.

"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," President and CEO of CVS Caremark Larry J. Merlo said in a press release.

The move drew praise from President Obama, who is a former smoker himself, as well as many health agencies and physicians.

It also received praise from Miami students.

"I think it's probably a good idea just because tobacco won't be as accessible," Miami first-year Matt Tannehill said.

First-year Drew Patterson was torn by the announcement.

"In a way I agree, but at the same time, it's kind of people's choice to smoke," Patterson said.

He also doubted it would have much effect on Oxford.

"Not with everything Uptown, I've never even been to CVS," Patterson said. Economics professor Jim Brock had a mixed reaction to the news as well.

"I'm cheered that CVS will contribute to the health of the country by freeing up the store to peddle more salty snacks, candy and sugar-laced soda to their customers," Brock said.

Brock said he did not believe the decision alone would have much economic effect, and he said it might cause a domino effect.

"Others might be compelled to do the same thing," he said.

He also pointed out cigarettes are among the most stolen items in the nation.

"Cigarettes are so expensive they have to keep them locked up, because of that it's a problem," Brock said. "Maybe it's PR."

CVS in Oxford declined to comment due to company policy.

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