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When CVS Banned Cigarettes

Posted 9/03/2015 6:45 pm by

CVS_Checkout

There are an estimated 44 million Americans that smoke cigarettes.  Despite all the smoking bans in public places and increased awareness of the dangers of cigarettes, it’s a very hard habit to kick and it’s a very lucrative business for companies.  Among them was CVS, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, which sold an estimated $2 billion in cigarettes every year.  Then, a year ago, CVS made news by banning cigarettes, expecting to take a hit to the bottom line.  Not so fast, my friend.  After banning cigarette sales, CVS’s sales went from $126.8 billion in 2013 to $139.4 billion in 2014.  It’s not just the cigarette issue, but a complete change in corporate thinking that is responsible for the increased profits.

“Now more than ever, pharmacies are on the front line of health care, becoming more involved in chronic disease management to help patients with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,” said CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis in an interview with COLLOQUY. “All of these conditions are made worse by smoking, and cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

It’s not just a ban on cigarette sales, CVS has sought to completely remake its company along those lines.  Cigarettes were just the beginning; a name change to CVS Health, the purchase of senior health care company Omnicare, a revamped motive offering health screenings, and partnering with Target to provide pharmacy services within its stores. (Target, for their part, stopped selling cigarettes in 2006.)

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