Poloncarz, Burstein Commend CVS on Banning Tobacco Sales


February 10, 2014

CONTACT: Peter Anderson / Peter.Anderson@erie.gov

Phone: (716)858-8500 / Mobile: (716) 270-7842

Poloncarz, Burstein Commend CVS on Banning Tobacco Sales

County Executive, Health Commissioner Call on Other Pharmacies to Follow Suit

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein today commended national pharmacy chain CVS/pharmacy (“CVS”), which has announced plans to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its retail outlets nationwide beginning October 1, 2014. The positive health effects of such a business decision are expected to outweigh any loss in store sales.

“Pharmacies are often the front lines for people making health-related decisions, and while they are businesses, protecting public health is their core mission,” said Poloncarz. “Removing tobacco products from their shelves shows a renewed focus on that mission and underscores the fact that tobacco is dangerous, deadly, and does not belong in a modern pharmacy. I commend CVS for taking this decisive action and urge other pharmacies to follow CVS’ lead and take tobacco off their shelves.”

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein added, “This is a bold public health decision by a major pharmacy chain in the U.S. to forego their bottom line in favor of the long term health of their customers. Smoking causes about 9 out of 10 of all lung cancer deaths and 8 out of 10 deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) in men and women. More women die from lung cancer each year than from breast cancer. CVS has recognized the need for pharmacies to focus on supporting health and wellness instead of contributing to disease and death caused by tobacco use.”

In 2007, Wegmans supermarkets took cigarettes and other tobacco products out of their stores; on a national level, Target stores stopped selling tobacco products in 1996. When the CVS ban takes effect, it will be the first national-level pharmacy company to stop selling tobacco products.

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