Big Freakin' Deal
The headlines in all of the major news outlets all noted that CVS Pharmacies, one of the most ubiquitous drug store chains in the land, had announced that all of its stores would cease selling tobacco products by the Fall of this year. This move will allegedly result in the loss of several billions of dollars to the corporation. The reason given for this move is that the sale of killer tobacco was inconsistent with CVS's role in providing the means to good health.
At least one journalist, Frank Giradot, saw the move for what it was: rank hypocrisy.
From the Pasadena Star News:
Interestingly, [CVS CEO] Merlo said nothing about booze, which his stores also sell. I know I bought a bottle of Bailey’s there this weekend.
There’s a bit of hypocrisy in CVS’s stand when you consider what the Center for Disease Control says about fermented beverages:
“There are approximately 88,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. ... excessive alcohol use is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation ...is responsible for 2.5 million years of potential life lost. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion.”
He also left out candy or sodas with elevated levels of high fructose corn syrup.
Some researchers believe that high-fructose corn syrup or added caloric sweeteners play an important role in the development of obesity, again according to the CDC. Guess what?
Obesity leads to death too.
Merlo didn’t mention questionable over-the-counter cold remedies that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. There was no scorn heaped upon cheap toys made by slaves in Southeast Asian sweat shops. Nor was there a commitment to limit access to other products with a range of serious side effects that include “massive loss of blood pressure,” “heart attack” and/ or “sudden death.” [Emphasis added]
Nor did Mr. Merlo mention that the government was going to outlaw tobacco sales in drug stores soon any way.
So, the shelves behind the counter or off to the side under lock and key will provide room for other products for sale. I'm betting the new merchandise will be nicotine patches and gum and possibly even e-cigarettes. I wouldn't worry too much about CVS's bottom line.