Experts: CVS Move Could Dent Smoking Rates
Inconvenience helps deter smokers, studies have shown
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 4:07 AM CST
A discarded cigarette sits in front of a CVS pharmacy in Kingston, Pa,   (AP Photo/Citizens' Voice, Andrew Krech)

(Newser) – With hundreds of thousands of retailers in the US selling cigarettes, will CVS' landmark decision to end tobacco sales have any effect on smoking rates? Experts say it could have a major impact, both by putting more pressure on the tobacco industry and making it a little harder for people to get their smokes, USA Today finds. Studies have shown that having to travel just two extra blocks can make the difference between buying and not buying cigarettes, and tobacco firms have long sought to boost "impulse" buys by having their products near cash registers, says Otis Brawley, the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer. "If the cigarettes are right in front of you, if they're convenient, you are more likely to buy them," he says. "This is especially true of people who are struggling to quit."

But other pharmacy chains like Walgreens might not hurry to follow CVS' lead, the Los Angeles Times reports. The chain, which argues that banning tobacco sales would send smokers to outlets like liquor stores "that don't carry smoking cessation products and don't have pharmacists available for advice on quitting," said yesterday that it will "continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want" while continuing to provide those smoking cessation goods. The Consumerist sees the statement as "actually trying to shill for some sort of smoking cessation program ... because there is much more money to be gained by selling people both the product they are addicted to and a program that may help them quit."

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Showing 3 of 51 comments
Mar 17, 2014 5:59 PM CDT
Which liberal think tanks conducted these studies? They're all morons. Across from every CVS is a Walgreen's. Plus, every gas station has a convenience store which sells cigarettes. And don't forget every supermarket sells them. Does anyone really believe these idiot AG's are going to spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of taxpayer's dollars to sue? Like I said, morons.
Lorii Abela
Mar 7, 2014 10:36 AM CST
Thanks, Rob, for posting this informative article. An issue such as this is very important for the USA's present society.
Feb 9, 2014 7:21 PM CST
I doubt CVS decision to not sell cigarette will not affect anything beside there profit. All people is going to do is go to another store. I want to know why all this focus on cigarette? Are we suppose to believe that CVS cares so much about our health and that is why they will not sell cigarette anymore? ..What about the alcohol? If they care so much why not stop selling alcohol as well.