CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Customers at the 47 CVS/pharmacy stores in West Virginia can no longer find tobacco products. The company stopped selling cigarettes and other tobacco items Wednesday at its 7,700 retail pharmacies nationwide.
CVS first announced back in February that it planned on making the move in October but they were able to do it about a month earlier. The company’s chief medical officer Troy Brennan said CVS is a health care company.
“There’s nothing that is as bad for health as smoking. So selling a product in our stores that was causing people health problems really didn’t make any sense,” he said.
Some have criticized CVS saying smokers will just find other places to buy their cigarettes. Brennan said that’s not necessarily true. He said a previous ban at stores in San Francisco and Boston showed something else.
“From what we found there was up to a 13 percent decrease overall in tobacco utilization. That’s up to 65-thousand lives that could be saved,” he said.
CVS/pharmacy also announced Wednesday the launching of a nationwide cessation program for smokers.
“So across all of our stores not only have we pulled tobacco products but we are inviting smokers to help them quit,” CVS/pharmacy President Helena Foulkes said.
Foulkes said the company has received a lot of positive feedback since its February announcement.
The 47 CVS/pharmacy stores in West Virginia are located in 24 different counties. There are 4 stores each in Huntington and Parkersburg and 3 stores in both Fairmont and Beckley.