CVS dropping tobacco products; Local smokers weigh in


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Maggie Vespa

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) –  A big business is calling it quits on big profit because they say your health is more important.

Sound too good to be true?
CVS dropped a bit of a bombshell Wednesday, announcing, by October, any and all tobacco products will be off the shelves.
They say it will cost them $2 billion a year.
So is it worth it?
Their CEO loves it.
“It became the right decision for us,” said Helena Foulkes, president of CVS Pharmacy.
Health experts love it.
Even the White House loves it.
President Obama released a statement saying CVS’ choice will reduce healthcare costs and “…protect untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak.”
But will this move make anyone quit?
Young smokers say no.
“Oh no way.  I think people are going to do what they’re going to do,” said one man.
“I don’t think it will make anyone stop smoking,” said another.  “Might make them walk a little farther for their cigarettes.”
That’s an important point, from a key demographic.
According to Arizona Health Matters, in Pima County the rate of teen smokers, 14%, comes in above the national average.
Other counties, like Greenlee and Gila, show rates as high as 24%.
This despite hard hitting ad campaigns, including a new one from the FDA, which show teens how cigarettes affect your looks.
Still heads at ASHLine, a statewide smokers helpline based in Tucson, say spikes in calls prove these ploys work.
“Sometimes you say something a different way and it just hits certain chord, like ‘You know what?  I really need to do this,'” said spokesman Ryan Seltzer. “It’s, I think, one of the reasons why we have such diversified advertising, is to try to get at the different motivations that different people have.”
Analysts say CVS is being proactive, as changes under Obamacare put pressure on retail clinics to focus on preventative health care.
As for its competitors, Rite Aid and Walgreens, each released statements Wednesday saying they are evaluating their products.

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