Maintaining a Healthy Image: CVS’ Bold Move

When you think of CVS Pharmacy, I’m sure plenty of things come to mind. Not only can you go into this chain to get your prescription, you can also go in for a quick trip to a clinic, hundreds of health and wellness items, beauty products, snacks, and more.


CVS has always been good at keeping a consistent image. They’ve come to be known as the neighborhood pharmacy for many towns and have always been focused on your health and wellness, or so it seemed.

When you walked into a CVS in early 2014 and before, you noticed that the cigarettes and other tobacco products were right at the front of the store behind the checkout counter. Oddly enough, the prescriptions and various other health remedies were toward the back of the store. In other words, the sick people had to walk to the back of the store while the “healthy” people could get their tobacco products at the front. CVS made the bold decision to stop selling all tobacco products in each of its 7,600 stores nationwide on October 1, 2014 using its “Let’s Quit Together” campaign. “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS Pharmacy,” says CEO, Larry Merlo, “is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company.”


This caused an uproar for some people as they could no longer satisfy their tobacco cravings at any CVS location. CVS did this for several reasons but the most important was the company trying to keep a consistent image. Merlo says “The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose — helping people on their path to better health.” Why would a company promoting a healthy lifestyle sell products that have been proven to cause sickness or death?

There is no place for cigarettes or other tobacco products in a place where a healthy lifestyle is the greatest concern. While other pharmacies continue to sell tobacco products, CVS stopped roughly two years ago. When this decision was announced, management explained that CVS stores would lose around $2 billion in annual revenue.


CVS knew their brand would take a hit as well as their annual revenue but the pros outweighed the cons. CVS reported a full year of profit growth for 2015, despite the removal of tobacco products from shelves. The promotion of a healthy lifestyle is something every pharmacy should pride themselves on, but only CVS was willing to take a chance and make a change.

8 thoughts on “Maintaining a Healthy Image: CVS’ Bold Move

  1. This blog post caught my attention immediately because of the title. I had not yet heard about the “Bold Move,” and I love CVS, so it for sure made me want to read more. This was actually very uplifting, and news that I couldn’t agree more with. It is slightly contradicting that a neighborhood pharmacy (most pharmacies) sell products that are harmful to your body. CVS was fully aware that their sales would go down immensely, and still chose to make this change to their stores. I think this will actually end up helping them and promoting their brand in a better image, while making them more trustworthy. I loved this post, and of course the memes.

  2. This caught my eye because CVS is my local home pharmacy, I always choose it over Walgreens or other pharmacies. I was curious as to what exactly the healthy image and bold move they had changed. As I began reading, I never realized how crazy it is that a company who is so concerned with health would have some a harmful product be the first thing the consumer sees. It makes you think what other brands do not actually have your health at first priority. It was a very bold, yet clever move on CVS branding part. This post was both intriguing and written very well. I enjoyed the tone and language that was used, as well as the pictures.

  3. This blog post is awesome! I remember hearing about CVS making the big decision to not sell tobacco products anymore. It was such a big deal but I think it is so strong and smart of them to make such a bold move. They weighed their options, and yes, they would lose money but now they can advertise that they look out for the overall health of their customers. Good work!

  4. I heard about this back in 2014 and loved that CVS was willing to do something like this. Reading this was a reminder of the decision they made 2 years ago and made me just as happy. It was never something I really thought about but it does make sense that brands like CVS should not be selling products like tobacco that can do so much damage to a persons health. This move definitely gave me a lot of respect for CVS!

  5. Wow, I love this blog. I’ve always used CVS my whole life. However, I was completely obliviously that this had even occurred. Probably because I don’t smoke cigarettes and never really notice them when I go into stores. This goes to show that the people of CVS are not just concerned with the amount of money they are going to make from their customers, they genuinely care about them. This post has made me a proud CVS customer. Great post!

  6. This is so interesting! I honestly have never thought about how Tobacco products are sold in the front and health products are in the back. That is so ironic! I think that’s amazing that CVS is stepping up to keep society healthier, even if it does effect their income. I hope other drugstores follow their lead to decrease the amount of tobacco use all together.

  7. This is a very interesting decision on the part of CVS because tobacco products are a big seller and have a large number of people who regularly buy them. By removing them CVS knowingly took away a large source of revenue. Clearly this decision was made with the long term effects in mind. Even though CVS might lose money at first this move is overall beneficial to their brand image, showing the public that they put the health of their customers first. This was an interesting and well written post that was easy to read and also gave the reader all the necessary information.

  8. I think CVS made the right move by no longer selling tobacco products. It’s a pharmacy and shouldn’t be selling things that could kill you and focus on things to help you live a healthier better lifestyle. I feel like other drug stores should do the same thing and commitment to helping people live a healthier and better lifestyle.

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