Cancer care community applauds CVS decision

Feb 6, 2014

CVS Caremark's decision to stop selling tobacco products is drawing praise in the cancer treatment community.

The company says it will take until fall to get tobacco products out of its 7,600 pharmacies across the country. A Roswell Park researcher says that will end the contradiction of selling tobacco at the register and selling cancer treatment drugs in the pharmacies.


State Assemblyman Sean Ryan says this eases the exposure of adolescents like his own children to the cigarettes by the CVS door.

"It's called the Power Wall. The next time you walk into a 7-11, look at the colorful display and see if you can distinguish the tobacco display from the candy display. They are both marketed towards kids. Those Power Walls aren't being marketed to current smokers, because current smokers already have a product. They know what they are going to buy. The candy next to the chocolate-flavored cigarettes is not a mistake," Ryan said Wednesday.

Ryan says he never smoked because he grew up in a family of heavy smokers and saw the negative effects.

Roswell Park says the CVS decision may have been prompted by a letter from Dr. James Marshall, pointing out the contrast between the tobacco and the cancer treatment drugs. Marshall, Roswell's senior vice president for cancer prevention, says pharmacists don't want to sell tobacco.

"More than 86% of local pharmacists surveyed would prefer not to have to deal with tobacco products in their stores," Marshall said.

Officials say the next step is persuading more pharmacies and supermarket chains to stop selling tobacco products.