CVS taking unprecedented step of stopping cigarette sales

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | The CVS location on ROute 58 in Riverhead.
PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | The CVS location on Route 58 in Riverhead.

In a move that’s making waves across the nation, CVS has announced plans to stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 stores by the beginning of October, saying selling cigarettes is at odds with its mission as caretakers.  

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

The first national pharmacy chain to take such a step, the drugstore said it predicts the decision will cost them $2 billion in annual sales.

[Editorial: Where CVS leads on tobacco, others will follow]

CVS has three locations across the North Fork, including stores on Route 25A in Wading River, Route 58 in Riverhead and Main Road in Mattituck. 

Local store managers said Wednesday that they cannot comment on the issue.

According to a study by the Center for Global Tobacco Control, less than five percent of cigarette sales took place at pharmacies in 2009, but sales at drugstores have increased even as overall cigarette sales have declined.

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