On February 5th, the pharmacy chain CVS Caremark announced that as of October 1st it will no longer sell tobacco products. Just this month they announced they had ceased selling tobacco products a month early.
Immediately after the CVS announcement last February, President Obama praised the pharmacy chain’s decision. This immediate response from the White House was suspicious as one may assume the administration had been given advance notice by CVS. President Obama and many in the press made it appear that CVS was being altruistic, forsaking between 1.5 and 2 billion dollars in annual revenue from the sale of tobacco products. The reality is this was a business decision by CVS in order to cash in on the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare), which allows insurance companies to charge up to 50 percent more in premiums for smokers and get favorable publicity from much of the media already hostile to tobacco. CVS is more than within its right to sell or not sell a legal product but they should be honest about it.
Currently, CVS has 800 in-store clinics where customers can see a primary care specialist without having to visit a hospital. The chain has plans to increase that number by the year 2017.