On Wednesday, Feb. 5, CVS Caremark Corp. announced that they would stop selling tobacco products in 7,600 stores by October. CVS is the first national drugstore chain in the United States to take this initiative.
CVS is currently considered the Number 2 drugstore in the U.S, however, this step could bump it up to Number 1 if other chains don’t follow suit.
The move has already brought praise from United States President Barack Obama and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Boston and San Francisco banned the sale of tobacco in pharmacies some time ago while many cities have moved to only allow smoking outdoors.
As of 2010 all but 3 Canadian jurisdictions have banned the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies including Ontario and Quebec. Yukon Territory most recently banned sales of tobacco products in 2011. Ontario led the way when in late 1994 they banned pharmacy sales of tobacco products. Pharmacy sales of tobacco products are also banned in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
It is estimated that one in five Canadian deaths is caused by cigarettes and approximately 37,000 Canadians die each year from tobacco use. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year are caused by cigarette smoking including deaths from secondhand smoke.
Smoking has been banned in public spaces around Canada for some time now and with the exception of a few territories it is illegal to smoke in any vehicle that is carrying a child. Many anti-smoking efforts have been, and continue to be, made across Canada and it seems the efforts are working. The number of Canadian smokers has steadily decreased since 2007.
Brad Robitaille, a managing partner at Greg Monforton & Partners, is also the founding partner of Tobacco Recovery Lawyers. For more than 7 years an international team of lawyers have worked hard to fight on behalf of provinces and territories to recover healthcare costs associated with the treatment of smoking related illness.