Eight U.S. senators are urging other major drug store chains to follow the example of CVS, which announced last week it will no longer sell tobacco products by October.
CVS, the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, will be the first national pharmacy company to stop selling tobacco. The company has more than 7,600 retail stores. Public health advocates have pressured retailers for years to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. CVS says its annual sales of tobacco products total about $2 billion, or about 1.6 percent of the company’s revenues in 2012.
The Huffington Post reports that following the announcement by CVS, the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Troyen Brennan, said, “I think it will put pressure on other retailers who want to be in health care.”
The senators, all Democrats, called on Walgreen Co., the nation’s largest drugstore chain, and Rite Aid Corp., the third largest, to stop selling tobacco. In a letter sent to both chains, as well as to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the senators wrote, “By reducing the availability of cigarettes and other tobacco products and increasing access to tobacco cessation products, [you have] the power to further foster the health and wellness of customers and send a critical message to all Americans—and especially children—about the dangers of tobacco us.”