You know this was going to happen. Yesterday, CVS announced that it will no longer sell tobacco products. Now, CVS is a business, a Corporation. You’d think that its freedom to make whatever decision it sees fit for their brand would go over pretty smoothly with the corporate freedom lovers over at Fox News? But you’d be wrong again for harboring that thought.
On on Fox’s The Five, co-host Dana Perino tried to use the decision to attack President Obama’s signature health care law, saying, “I just wonder, is this President Obama now saying that corporations are allowed to have values and express them? Because if that’s the case, maybe corporations then don’t have to provide contraceptive care to their employees or their health plans. And the Supreme Court justices might want to think about that.”
Ah, for the record, Healthcare is the law. Providing cigarettes is not.
CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS) announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores across the U.S. by October 1, 2014, making CVS/pharmacy the first national pharmacy chain to take this step in support of the health and well-being of its patients and customers.
“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.”
Merlo continued, “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.”
Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually.