Opinion: Drug stores take note

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at ksmit138@kent.edu.

Katie Smith is a senior public relations major and columnist for the Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

Katie Smith

CVS Caremark has changed its name to CVS Health and ended its sale of cigarettes and tobacco products on Sept. 3, which sets a precedent that other drug stores will hopefully follow.

CVS Health’s retail pharmacies will still carry the CVS/pharmacy name. CVS Health made good on the promise it made earlier this year to stop selling tobacco products in its 7,700 retail pharmacies. It seemed a bit counterintuitive for a pharmacy chain to sell cigarettes and tobacco anyway, so CVS Health is becoming healthier indeed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes about one in five deaths annually.

Tobacco is obviously profitable because of the number of people addicted to nicotine, but profit should come second to the health of our citizens. CVS Health estimated it could lose $2 billion in annual sales, but I think a corporation of its size can handle that loss.

CVS Health is not only stopping the sale of tobacco, the corporation is launching an in-store campaign to help those dependent on nicotine to kick the habit. According to its website, “patients in our stores have access to cessation-related materials, as well as face-to-face clinical expertise from our nurse practitioners and pharmacists.”

In addition to the in-store campaign, CVS Health is also starting a social media push with the hashtag #OneGoodReason, which encourages people to share their “one good reason” to quit smoking. In my opinion, this is a brilliant public relations move for the corporation.

One very important aspect to note of CVS Health’s efforts is that its plan has been completely thought through and explained on its website. It has pages dedicated to explaining why it stopped selling tobacco, explaining its commitment to health and explaining available resources for its customers to end their detrimental habit.

To me, CVS Health is doing more than just terminating its sale of tobacco; it’s leading a national campaign for a healthier country. A campaign that I hope others will follow.