American Cancer Society approves of CVS no tobacco policy - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

American Cancer Society approves of CVS no tobacco policy

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(02/05/14) - A national pharmacy chain will be the first to pull tobacco products from its shelves. CVS says by Oct. 1, you won't be able to buy cigarettes in its 7,600 stores. The company's CEO says tobacco products have no place there.

"We've come to the conclusion that tobacco in a setting where healthcare is administered, those two just don't go together," said Larry Merlo, CVS CEO and president.

CVS says it sells $2 billion worth of tobacco products every year, but will phase them out over the next eight months.

"It became clear that removing tobacco products from our stores was the right thing to do," Merlos aid.

The American Cancer Society applauds the move.

"We think it's a great step for CVS. It shows they have a commitment to the health and wellness for the members of their communities which they service and we fully support them," said Megan Simms, who works in the Flint Township office of the American Cancer Society.

The ACS wants other pharmacies do the same.

"We definitely hope that they will follow suit and we'll provide whatever information in help and resources that we can. But we think they should definitely follow with what CVS is doing," Simms said.

CVS says starting this spring it will offer smoking cessation classes to its customers. The American Cancer Society is willing to help, too.

"We definitely encourage everyone to quit smoking. Whatever we can do to help them we want to be there along the way," Simms said.

Eighteen years ago, Flint Township-based Diplomat Pharmacy stopped selling tobacco products in its store and brought in a steam roller to crush the leftover inventory.

"We can't sell anti-cancer drugs and health products is one end of the store and sell tobacco and cancer causing ingredients in the other end of the store," Phil Hagerman of Diplomat Pharmacy said in October 1995.

CVS doesn't believe stopping cigarette sales will hurt its bottom line.

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