WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

CVS will stop selling cigarettes / tobacco products -- When will Walgreens follow?

I've always thought it to be incredibly ironic (and hypocritical) for a pharmacy store to sell tobacco and fatty foods, along with pharmaceuticals, office supplies, greetings cards, etc.

The ends-justifies-the-means message seemed to be: "We'll sell you stuff that promotes deadly diseases (after all, only profits matter!); then we'll sell you the costly drugs to treat your condition!" Or this subtle message to smokers: "If your pharmacist still sells tobacco, maybe it ain't quite as bad medical experts say it is!"

Finally, finally, some sanity, although not for altruistic reasons, but because of the changing nature of the pharmaceutical business, as these pharmaceutical chains team up with hospitals and insurance companies. (And don't forget profits from smoking cessation therapy, counseling, and products to help smokers kick the habit!)

CVS will stop selling all forms of tobacco by October 1st. (But note the delayed date for implementation, so CVS takes less of a hit to its bottom line, and sells out existing inventory!)

Hey Walgreens (which gobbled up Happy Harry's)... when will you cut tobacco?

Problem for Walgreens: CVS, being first, will undoubtedly reap some brand loyalty among members of certain upscale demographic groups who view tobacco as a societal ill.

See this account from FORBES (although I'd say the headline is too generous to CVS!)...


Posted at 7:33am on February 5, 2014 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Wed, Feb 5, 2014 10:00am
I always thought it would be RiteAid to be the first to do this with their in-house GNC.

Mike from Delaware
Wed, Feb 5, 2014 10:38am
I don't smoke, but still must say that tobacco is a legal product. So why shouldn't they sell it, especially in Delaware, where our tax on tobacco products is considerably less than in neighboring states, thus a large profit is available?

PC types want to ban its sale. Great, then "Uncle Vito" can have another "family business" and we can have more shootings in Wilmington over tobacco turf vs. Pot/Drug turf.

Wed, Feb 5, 2014 3:02pm
Walgreens will hop in as soon as Walgreens too can get a "piece of the action" from the Accountable Care Organizations or maybe the company will just sit back and gain $2 Billion in earnings.

...These new efforts have led CVS to work more closely with hospitals, doctors’ networks, and what are called Accountable Care Organizations, new types of organizations encouraged by Obamacare in which doctors agree to be paid not for every stitch, prescription, or procedure but based on how well patients do after treatment. If CVS can help save money or keep patients healthier, it might get a piece of the action.

Wed, Feb 5, 2014 7:45pm
The irony here is that at some point, so-called medical marijuana is going to be sold at these same drug stores, and likely will be required by law to do so if they want to continue servicing government-subsidized patients.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 8:57am
mrpizza: Sad but probably true... but only "bad" tobacco causes cancer when smoked right? Surely medical pot can't cause the same effects (said with extreme sarcasm).

I wonder if Marlboro and other Big cigarette manufacturers plan to get intp the joint game if enough states legalize/federalize pot and pot is standardized/controlled by the ATF.

Who will be the pot "Marlboro man"...Cheech, Tommy Chong, or a member of the Choom Gang?

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 10:11am
No. Mr. Pizza. You have an old antiquated notion regarding marijuana... That may be a funny old person's joke. In truth, if marijuana were legalized, it would probably be Beyonce or Bruno Mars lending their good looks (for a fee, mind you, for a fee) to spread the word of its wonderful properties.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 10:13am
Somehow I didn't see that Earl Gray made the Cheech Reference instead of Pizza whose thread I thought I was following at the time which was right above it. Sorry Pizza.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 10:33am
Hey, where were you guys when they got rid of drug-store soda fountains?

Maybe the real reason: Not many people buy cigs in drug stores. When Wawa drops cigs, that's news.

Jensen wants to make this about the "Nanny State" and the start of the slippery slope to making butts illegal. That's a stretch, even for him.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 11:36am

Cheech & Chong aren't antiques...they are classics.

Our current president belonged to the Choom Gang.

The "new face" for legalized pot would be Justin Bieber...

bill: Soda fountains are waaay before my time.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 12:25pm
Chippendale furniture is also a classic. It is antique and only appreciated by the very few.

I'm glad our current president approves of classics. Thank you for bringing that up.

Thu, Feb 6, 2014 7:51pm
The Walgreens in Brookhaven PA just recently got an instant coffee machine with two choices of size and several different cappucino varieties. Unfortunately, it only accepts cash at
this time, but I'm sure they'll set it up for credit/debit card use at some point.

So far, that's the only store I've seen it in, and it may be unique to the small-town culture of Brookhaven that it's in there.

Fri, Feb 7, 2014 5:16am
Walgreens says it is considering getting rid of cigarettes, too. Most independent drug stores stopped selling tobacco products several years ago (on the recommendation of their associations).

Currently, medical marijuana requires a prescription and it is being sold in medical marijuana stores, not drug stores. Another false equivalency from the right. In Colorado and Washington, no drug stores - especially chain stores - are selling, or have applied to sell, marijuana for recreational use.

Ronald Reagan was a shill for big tobacco, so you know the guy would lie for money.

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