CVS announced plans Wednesday to stop selling cigarettes and all other tobacco products in its stores later this year, making it the first national pharmacy chain to to take this step. But don't expect other major pharmacy chains to follow suit just yet.
"We have been evaluating this product category for some time to balance the choices our customers expect from us, with their ongoing health needs," a rep for Duane Reade and its parent company Walgreens said in a statement. "We will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want."
A source familiar with the thinking for Duane Reade and Walgreens noted that this is an issue that has been raised "a lot" by customers, policy makers and certain municipalities, including San Francisco. Indeed, in 2008, Walgreens sued San Francisco to block legislation that would ban the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies.
Rite Aid, like Duane Reade and Walgreens, said it is continuing to evaluate the issue, based on the demands of customers.
"We continually evaluate our product offering to ensure that it meets the needs and interests of our customers," a rep for Rite Aid said in a statement.
All three companies emphasized in their statements that they provide "smoking cessation products" in stores.
CVS's decision to stop selling cigarettes this year earned praise from President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. That said, CVS also expects the change may cost it "billions of dollars in revenue."
"When we asked ourselves where we expect to be in the future as a healthcare company," CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a recorded statement. "It became clear that removing tobacco products from our stores was the right thing to do."
By Seth Fiegerman. Reblogged from Mashable.com____
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