Smoker prepared to go elsewhere when CVS stops selling tobacco


Associated Press

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 3:32 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — One man who bought a pack of cigarettes today at a CVS store in Indianapolis says he isn't worried about the drugstore chain's decision to stop selling all tobacco products by October.

Tim Watt says he buys most of his cigarettes from CVS because they're between 20 cents and a dollar cheaper than at other locations. Watt is on unemployment, and has a tight budget. But he says when CVS stops selling the smokes, he'll "just find someplace else" -- or start buying the "really cheap" cigarettes at tobacco outlets.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain is trying to shift its focus toward being more of a health care provider. It's among the drugstore chains that have been adding in-store clinics and expanding their health care offerings in recent years. Pharmacists are now giving flu shots. And clinics are treating relatively minor problems like sinus infections.

CVS has been working with hospital groups and doctors to help deliver and monitor patient care. And the company's chief medical officer, Dr. Troyen Brennan, says the doctors and hospitals are always asking how CVS can be part of the health care system while continuing to sell tobacco. He says, 'There's really no good answer to that at all."

%@AP Links

219-a-15-(Dr. Tom Frieden, director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in AP interview)-"and disabling diseases"-CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden says he hopes other retailers will follow CVS in stopping the sale of tobacco products. (5 Feb 2014)

<<CUT *219 (02/05/14)££ 00:15 "and disabling diseases"

205-w-33-(Jackie Quinn, AP correspondent with Dr. Troy Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, president, CEO, CVS Caremark, and John Banzhaf, professor of public interest law, George Washington University)--CVS Caremark says it'll stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October of this year, and invites other retailers to follow suit. AP correspondent Jackie Quinn reports. (5 Feb 2014)

<<CUT *205 (02/05/14)££ 00:33

GRAPHICSBANK: Marlboro brand cigarettes on CVS store shelf, on texture with logo, finished graphic (5 Feb 2014)

APPHOTO NY111: FILE - In this Wednesday, July 17, 2013 file photo, Marlboro cigarettes are on display in a CVS store in Pittsburgh. The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1 as it continues to focus more on health care. The move will cost the Woonsocket, R.I., company about $2 billion in annual revenue. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) (17 Jul 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY111 (07/17/13)££