CVS is getting out of the cigarette business.

On its face, this announcement from CVS seems like an unmitigated good:

Pharmacy chain CVS said Wednesday it will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 locations across the United States, a move that public health advocates hope will become a watershed and pressure other large drug store franchises to follow suit.

CVS executives said the decision could cost billions of dollars in revenue because cigarettes draw so many customers in their stores. But by jettisoning tobacco products, CVS can further evolve their pharmacies into full-fledged health care providers and strike more profitable deals with hospitals and health insurers. Its stores already are home to over 750 MinuteClinics, the country's largest chain of pharmacy-based health clinics, where ordinary Americans can get flu shots or check out earaches and sore throats.

However, the part about evolving into a full-fledged healthcare provider makes me a bit suspicious.

I don't actually know much about the Minute Clinics. Do they offer decent service, or are they farther toward the payday loan end of the spectrum, exploiting a gap in societal infrastructure to make a profit at the expense of people with no better option?

Either way, though, it is hard to argue with fewer places selling tobacco.

Show Comments