CVS Tobacco Decision and What It Means for Wellness

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This week, drug store giant CVS Caremark announced it will no longer be selling tobacco products in any of its 7,600 stores. The first of any kind of large chain to make such a move has spurred a lot of discussion about the long-term effects of such a decision.

CVS Drops Tobacco

According to USA Today, this decision is estimated to cost the company around $2 billion annually, which totals about 3% of overall sales. However, as Helena Foulkes, CVS’ pharmacy president points out, the company is trying to establish a stronger footprint in the wellness industry and tobacco is not part of this. The company plans to end all tobacco sales by October 1.

This announcement from CVS comes as the healthcare industry is undergoing massive shifts due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. It’s expensive to provide healthcare to all people so the role of pharmacies is changing as well. Taking a step towards healthier initiatives is helping to redefine CVS as not only a drugstore, but also a healthcare provider focused on the wellness of its customers.

Other major drug store chain, Walgreens, has also made steps towards promoting wellness in their stores. Though not as drastic as ending all sales, the company has been evaluating its tobacco line and also recently launched an internet-based smoking cessation program, says Walgreens spokesman Michael Polzin.

Chris Byrd of the Healthcare Trends Institute Editorial Advisory Board, and President and COO of Evolution1, talked to USA Today about the long-term wellness strategy involved with this move from CVS.

“The Affordable Care Act has some provisions in it that really promote more wellness programs,” said Chris Byrd, editorial advisory board member for the Healthcare Trends Institute. “The whole strategy moving forward is prevention.”

He also added that CVS officials will likely tell health plans and employers that they want to put together their wellness plans.

With a thumbs up from the federal government, other businesses are sure to follow in time as the country moves towards reducing healthcare costs by you guessed it- being healthier.

Read the complete article from USA Today here.

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