The CVS Caremark drug store chain has announced that they will no longer sell tobacco products by October of this year.
And to me, so what?
After all, CVS Caremark is a private and publicly traded company.
CVS Caremark is pursuing an aggressive strategy to become a major health care provider. After all, many CVS Caremark stores are known for their Minute Clinics in which a consumer can have some very basic medical needs taken care of.
And let's face it folks, tobacco is now pretty much considered an icky product. While yes, many people still smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes and chew tobacco, it is one of the most discouraged products that is still legal.
So, what else does CVS Caremark sell that is icky to many people?
How about candy? Soda? A panoply of junk food?
Those are very easy marks, of course. But there are other items that some people find objectionable. Such as condoms, sexual lubricant. Some religious people at the very least would not like to see these items over the counter. Maybe with the other drug items that are behind the pharmacy counter.
The point is that there is a slight case of political correctness here.
It is easier to phase out a product like tobacco that is seen by the vast majority of people as, for lack of a better word, icky. But the other items I mentioned? Uh, not so much.
CVS Caremark is going to take an immediate hit of roughly $2,000,000,000 in revenue from tobacco sales. But they hope to make some of it up in tobacco cessation products. I'm going to take a guess and say that they will not make up all of that lost revenue. But it does refocus the chain from tobacco provider to strong cessation provider. And it may work with CVS Caremark. Maybe more people will obtain their prescriptions there and give them their overall business. After all, in a sense this is a new niche market.
But before people get worked up that it is another assault on smoker's rights, it is not.
Again, a private company can choose what they want to sell or not. And a publicly traded company does have an obligation to it's stockholders. So why continue carrying a product that is not exactly a good one such as tobacco? And one can get tobacco at other places. Smoking lounges are becoming a big deal. Especially cigar lounges. This is the possibility of where smoking is going. Into it's own niche market.
In the long run, CVS Caremark probably made the right decision as it is switching it's market. And it is possible that the items I named may also be phased out over time. Who knows?
But do not expect a wave of this kind of product removal. As long as people are willing to smoke and pay the price, economically and health-wise, there will be places that sell tobacco products.
For now, the removal of tobacco products is limited to CVS Caremark and it will take a while to determine if it is the right or wrong move.