Drugstore takes lead in cutting tobacco

CVS Caremark Corp., which has locations in Tiffin and Bellevue, announced Wednesday it will stop selling cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1.

That’s not an easy decision considering the potential loss of income and market share. The store on West Market Street in Tiffin will lose business to the tobacco shop and mini marts just down the street.

Indeed, CVS estimates it won’t just lose $1.5 billion in revenue from tobacco sales, but another $500 million in purchases due to the customers those products bring in.

Of course, some of that can be recouped by stepping up smoking-cessation efforts, and CVS plans to train pharmacists to counsel people on how to kick the habit. Plus, some of the space behind the counter now occupied by cigarettes could be used to display products that help people quit.

Also, the drugstore aims to focus more on developing its role in the growing health-care industry. So, in the long run, this move could pay off.

Still, CVS is the nation’s second-largest drugstore chain, and losing the income from tobacco products doesn’t seem like a strategy to take over that No. 1 spot. But the move announced Wednesday may elevate it in the minds of its non-smoking customers, and those who cease using tobacco likely will be around longer.

That decision itself makes CVS an industry leader.