Reaction to CVS no longer selling tobacco

File photo. (MGN)
File photo. (MGN)

OSHKOSH - The nation's second-largest drug store says it will no longer sell tobacco products at any of its stores. CVS has 7,600 locations nationwide. Ten of those are in our area.

By October 1, CVS says you will no longer see tobacco products for sale at its stores.

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

"It's fantastic to hear a big business that's taking a stand against tobacco use," said Anna Carpenter with re:TH!NK, Winnebago County's tobacco-free coalition.

She told FOX 11 this is a win for healthy living.

"We've known for years that tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and we know that it contributes to diseases that plague our society like heart disease, lung cancer, really any cancer," explained Carpenter.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 percent of American adults smoke. 50 years ago that rate was sitting at 42 percent.

Carpenter told us having the lure at one less store will benefit those trying to quit.

"If they're not tempted with it at a place, that will be helpful," said Carpenter.

But pharmacies only account for about 4 percent of tobacco sales nationwide, so it might not make a huge dent.

In a statement, the parent company of Philip Morris USA said it respects the CVS decision, and will continue to work with other stores to sell their tobacco products to adults in a responsible way.

Merlo said the decision will only make CVS more successful.

"This positions CVS/Caremark to play a greater role in our ever-evolving healthcare system," Merlo explained.

But can more be done? Depending on the location, CVS sells alcoholic drinks like beer.

Carpenter told us alcohol is harmful, maybe the store should consider giving it up as well.

"Maybe a potential in the future, with that whole wellness message," Carpenter said.

A representative for CVS did not respond to questions regarding alcohol sales.

CVS says it's planning to launch programs to help smokers quit at all of its stores.

If you'd like help now you can call Wisconsin's Quit Line. That number is 1-800-784-8669.