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CVS Cig Dump Makes Big News, But Where is Rite Aid? Walgreens?

It's time for other retailers to follow CVS's lead.

Credit: Palatine Patch
Credit: Palatine Patch

Today, CVS announced plans to phase out the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products by October.

Hallelujah!

Although CVS expects to lose $2 billion in annual revenue by the move, CEO Larry Merlo says, "Cigarettes have no place in an environment where health care is being delivered. This is the right decision at the right time as we evolve from a drugstore into a health-care company."

Touché, Mr. Merlo. 

Now, I only hope other 'health-care' companies follow suit.

According to their company website, Walgreens' mission is "to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond."  

I cannot see how cigarettes logically fit in there.

Last year, a Walgreens' spokesman defended the company's sale of tobacco products, saying they would "be at a tremendous competitive disadvantage if we didn't offer them."

With CVS taking 7,600 stores out of this competition, this argument has lost a bit of its punch.

I'm not advocating that we outlaw tobacco—my European visitors would be horrified —but I do think we should leave the tobacco to the tobacconists.

No teetotaler, I’ll admit to more than a twinge of envy when I see characters on shows like ‘Mad Men’ and people in old photos smoking in oblivious bliss to the horrors of tobacco. 

In real life, every time I see a teenager smoking these days, I think “what a moron. They know the score.’ 

Yet is is ridiculous that these killers, cigarettes, are sold in places like Rite Aid or other retailers that purport to be about your health.

Condolences to anyone who feels the erosion of smokers’ rights puts us in a nanny state. It appears as though we need it.

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