CVS Decision to End Tobacco Sales Advances Obama Agenda

By:  Kelly Holt
CVS Decision to End Tobacco Sales Advances Obama Agenda

The CVS Caremark drugstore chain announced it will discontinue tobacco sales later this year — a decision praised by President Obama as advancing his anti-smoking agenda.

Consumers and pundits had mixed responses, as reported by California's Fresno Bee, to Wednesday’s announcement from CVS Caremark that it would phase out sales of tobacco products by October 1. The Bee reported that CVS CEO Larry Merlo stated that the company concluded it could no longer sell cigarettes in a setting where healthcare also is being delivered.

The president and Mrs. Obama had high praise for the announcement.

NBC and the Wall Street Journal both referenced the president's personal interest in the cigarette debate as relating not only to his own struggle to quit, but to his national agenda for the smoking public.

Said NBC,

President Obama, a former smoker who tried for years to stop, immediately praised CVS, saying in a statement that their powerful example "will help advance my Administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs — ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.

The Wall Street Journal reported,

Mr. Obama’s administration has had some success in trying to further limit smoking as well. In 2009, for instance, Mr. Obama signed a law that put the tobacco industry under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration and, among other things, enabled the agency to ban the industry from selling candy-and fruit-flavored cigarettes. The FDA said it will later this month launch its first large-scale advertising campaign to discourage teens from smoking.

Earlier this week the Food and Drug Administration announced a $115 million dollar campaign dubbed "Real Cost," that will use humorous ads and a few scare tactics to discourage teens from ever starting to smoke.

The Jounal added, “On other fronts, the administration hasn’t banned the sale of menthol cigarettes, which account for about $25 billion of tobacco sales in the U.S.”

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