CVS stops selling cigs, brand integrity

Last week CVS/pharmacy stores announced they will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by October 1.

Congratulations! Hopefully this will start a national trend with other brands who preach wellness and healthy choices, it’s time to walk the talk.

Ending tobacco sales “is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a statement.

The company also announced that it plans to launch a national smoking cessation program in the spring.

This move will not be without short-term pain, the retailer estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion from tobacco shoppers.

If I were a betting girl, I’d put my money on CVS. They will survive and gain a much stronger and even more profitable brand in the long-run. A brand that keeps customers healthy, will have more customers.

Watch me on Fox Business, The Willis Report discuss the full story.
Fox Business, CVS Brand smokeless, Karen Post

Industries everywhere and everyday are faced with issues like this.  It takes courage to be the first. It takes vision to be a leader. And it takes brand integrity to do the right thing.

Is there anything in your business model that needs to go away? A product, a process or even an old irrelevant policy?  The upside to change like this is priceless.  I suspect CVS will earn millions in publicity that will make many shoppers love them more. And soon, they will have new shelf space for even more interesting products that meet the market’s needs, desires and impulses.

On a side note, if you’ve not seen the new ad campaign the FDA just launched, they are well done. Focusing on teenagers, with a message around the real cost of smoking. The campaign is eye opening and hopefully packed with enough shock value, that a few more young smokers will kick the habit now.

FDA anti-smoke campaign

Images from FDA