A major pharmacy chain will stop selling cigarettes, and health advocates in Wisconsin are reacting positively to the news. “Health care costs being what they are, we need to cut down on the number one (cause of) premature death and definitely disease-ridden product that we have,” said Health First Wisconsin Executive Director Maureen Busalacchi, reacting to news that the CVS Pharmacy chain will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 U.S. locations, beginning October 1st.
“As we see different pharmacies looking to promote more health and put more healthy food options out, having them take this product off their shelves is a great thing,” Buscalacchi said. “I think they’re making a great decision for their employees as well as their patrons.”
Dr. Michael Fiore of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention also embraced the decision. “I think this is fantastic news and I commend CVS for this,” Fiore said. “There’s a disconnect if the mission of a store is to promote health to sell a product that’s going to kill half of the people who use it.”
The chain will lose about $2 billion in revenues annually from sales of tobacco. CVS has 45 locations in Wisconsin. Busalacchi said there are still nearly a half-million people in the U.S. dying of tobacco related disease, so anything that can be done to bring that number down is welcome.