CVS rightly says no to tobacco

CVS Caremark Corp. recently decided to pull tobacco products from its store shelves. Love it or hate it, good for the management of CVS for taking a stand for what they believe in.
Feb 18, 2014


There are those who disagree with the store’s choice and feel that the decision to purchase the product should be left up to the consumer. However, people can still purchase tobacco products, just not any longer at CVS pharmacies. 

What about soda pop? Candy? Snacks and chips? Should those items be pulled from the shelves, too?

If the purpose for pulling the products is a healthier community, one could make the argument that those products should also be pulled from the shelves. Obesity, especially childhood obesity, is a major health care issue, and much of that can be attributed to those products that kids consume.

The difference is that the occasional bag of chips or candy bar doesn’t have the same negative impact as the occasional smoke does on those who consume them. One  cigarette, however, does cause damage — not to mention the second-hand smoke implications that it creates for others.

We hope that, regardless of the financial impact, CVS Caremark will stick to their guns and others will follow suit.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Yes, the consumer has choices to purchase whatever they want, same as the retail outlet having the choice to sell whatever they want.
So CVS has chosen not to sell tobacco.
Hobby Lobby has chosen to not sell anything on Sundays based on their religious views. But what if I want to buy stuff on Sunday to do crafts?
Same kind of logic. Kind of a silly editorial position.


I wonder if CVS will carry the new wonder drug Pot….wait the PC word is “cannabis”. They would clean up on the cancer curing drug delivery peripherals like carburetors, smoking stones, bongs and maybe the mass cure device known as a hookah...the stoners and those looking to get rich selling weed to gravely ill people desperate to stay alive swear it CURES deadly cancers and such so I figure CVS would be remiss if it fails to offer such a wonderful thing as the long sought cure for cancer now wouldn't they?

Former Grandhavenite

I think a lot of folks on these forums would benefit from smoking a bowl every now and then. Any honest regular smoker would have to admit that there are some negative aspects of the drug, particularly with excessive usage. I just wish the prohibitionists would focus on those and stop the hyperbole and outright lies. I'd rather take a hit or two instead of drinking a beer after work, and because of that something like 30% of the population just has complete and utter disdain for me and thinks I'm some completely immoral lowlife.

Years after getting done with the DARE program in school I actually ran into one of the officers who had been involved with it (no, I wasn't being arrested!) and we chatted a bit about the program as I wanted to get his thoughts on it as I'd become a staunch advocate of legalization by that point although I'd never actually smoked it yet. He said that essentially his main problem with demonizing such a relatively safe drug is that kids might make the mistake of thinking that the government is also lying to us about the other drugs covered in the program. Someone not very well-informed could make the mistake of thinking, "Everything they taught us about weed turned out to be bogus, so I bet heroin and crystal meth are awesome and safe drugs too!" As a police officer he complained that it undermined respect for authority in general and made a lot of people "hate cops". One guy he needed to interview as a witness wouldn't talk because this officer had busted him several years earlier for having a tiny amount of resin in a pipe. Multiply that distrust across an entire community where everyone has a close relative busted at some point, and you can see why the cops are just viewed as yet another gang in minority ares of big cities. Keep in mind this was all coming from a guy who thought weed should remain illegal. He just thought we should stop lying to kids about it and should explain that certain drugs are much worse than others, and using any drug constantly is pretty bad, as failing to distinguish between weed and meth, or to distinguish between a Friday evening and all-day-every-day can have deadly consequences. BTW, cannabis is the genus of the plant so I don't think it has anything to do with being PC. Calling vodka ethanol isn't PC, it's just not the standard terminology. I'd prefer the more neutral term as opposed to the more loaded, 'medicine', 'dope', 'marihuana', or 'bag of awesome'.

Former Grandhavenite

Sure, one cigarette does cause a bit of health damage, but so does one unhealthy snack. Tobacco policy is a tricky issue. In general I'm all in favor of people having the absolute maximum amount of personal freedom and I hate the type of nanny-state policies to micromanage things like that. On the other hand, second hand smoke is pretty clearly dangerous to people who've had no part in making the decision on whether or not the air is filled with smoke. Business owners should generally get to decide what is and isn't allowed within their own establishments, but when the policy damages the health of a worker exposed to it it gets a lot murkier. Sure, a waiter can get a job in a place where smoking isn't allowed, but that's easier said than done in a tough economy. It's extremely hard to reconcile this and public smoking bans are a knife-fight between my libertarian and socialist impulses.

Something like CVS deciding to not carry tobacco is much easier. They can carry the products of their choosing, and people can shop in the stores having the products they want to buy. I disagree with the tobacco control advocates always trying to increase cigarette prices because they say that cuts down on youth smoking. The reality is that adults have to pay those higher prices as well. The anti-tobacco types always say cigarettes shouldn't be advertised in one place or another because kids might see the ads, but this is ridiculous because adults and kids consume a lot of the same media. Just because some 16 year old reads Rolling Stone Magazine or watches a baseball game, that shouldn't make it illegal to advertise to adults in those venues. Just because some kids like clove or menthol flavors, that doesn't mean the companies are making an effort to target kids specifically.

As always, a lot of folks don't bother to distinguish between their personal like/dislike of smoking and their opinion on whether it should be allowed. The generic authoritarian view that, "I don't like X, and therefore X should not be allowed" is an ok position to take if you honestly believe that, but I wish it wasn't the default view of so many in government.


" In general I'm all in favor of people having the absolute maximum amount of personal freedom and I hate the type of nanny-state policies to micromanage things like that. On the other hand, second hand smoke is pretty clearly dangerous to people who've had no part in making the decision on whether or not the air is filled with smoke."

With this kind of Libertarian impulse, I'm surprised you haven't kept up on the latest on so-called "second hand smoke," a construct of the government and the tobacco Nazis:

Also, the long publicly available information that EPA manipulated the data to support its jihad against tobacco using second hand smoke as a lever.

Former Grandhavenite

That first study seems to be pretty legit and from a solid source. I hope their conclusions are accurate as I've been around a fair amount of second hand smoke at various jobs and while hanging out with certain friends/relatives. What initially convinced me the stuff had to be bad for you was when I'd put a new filter into the coffee pot at work where there was a lot of smoke in the air, and the filter would be black/brown and sticky with tar just from what had been circulating in the air. Of course our lungs have a lot more ability to clean themselves unlike a coffee filter but if I had to guess I'd say the stuff is still bad news, but not AS bad as it's made out to be.

I found this quote pretty illuminating:
“The strongest reason to avoid passive cigarette smoke is to change societal behavior: to not live in a society where smoking is a norm,” said Dr. Jyoti Patel of Northwestern University School of Medicine.

It's partially about narrowing the range of acceptable behavior and making people feel like outcasts if they go against the grain. I think a lot of the public health advocates really have their hearts in the right place, and I have no doubt that lives would be saved if they got their way. I don't think they should get to make our choices for us though, even if they're often pretty good choices. It's interesting how we've gone from states enacting BANS ON BANS of smoking in public places (think Michigan had that at one point), to states enacting the actual bans that were specifically made illegal 10-15 years before.

Have you ever seen "Thank You For Smoking?" It's pretty funny and also sums up my views on lobbyists quite well.


It's CVS Caremark's choice on what to sell, just like it's my choice on whether or not to shop there.


If you choose to smoke, drink, inject or pop anything you have the right to destroy yourself although it is painful to see a life being wasted in the end it’s your choice.
It is not my desire to babysit adults, my desire is to avoid paying for the slow spiral and the aftermath of your chosen life of disconnect and opiating.
Why should we be surprised in these times, we have the Obama Phone, the Obama Care why not The Obama Stash…Don’t think for a moment that the legalized the pot party will never be paid for by taxpayers because the stoners will need to continually medicate themselves for anxiety and stress.
The stressed or those afflicted with an episode of anxiety can get a grow or use permit will be paid to just relax, stay home and medicate….we’ll call it the “Obama’s get out of the work force for free” card.


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