Pine Belt residents with mixed reactions on CVS no tobacco sell

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Beginning October 1, CVS pharmacies nationwide will stop sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products. As one of the largest pharmacies in America, the company announced Wednesday that it wants to "support the health and well-being" of its customers.

"I think it's a good thing," said CVS customer Samantha Kirk. "I work in mental health and some of our biggest problems in mental health is people's reaction to not being able to smoke in general. We get a lot of health problems that complicate that because of smoking and I think that this will just be one less where people can come and get that fixed."

While some Pine Belt residents support CVS's decision, others disagree.

"As an ex-smoker I think they're taking away from the right of the smoker," said Carla Nash. "It's their right, it's their life, if they want to smoke, let them smoke."

"They're cheaper than anywhere else and they're the best place to buy cigarettes," said John Carson. "I might have to quit, I don't know if I can afford it anymore."

The company understands that their decision to stop cigarette sales comes at a price. Not only does CVS Caremark anticipate an annual loss in tobacco sales, but also in other products tobacco shoppers purchase while in the store. 

"A lot of convenience stores don't have a lot of stuff like CVS," said Victoria Clapp. "You can buy your milk products anything else and then your cigarettes, but other places you can just buy like just cigarettes and then you have to go somewhere else, so the convenience is there that's why I feel like they should keep doing it. It's kind of a bummer, but I mean you're just going to have to go with the flow and go somewhere else, maybe Walgreens."

CVS Caremark estimates it will take an annual loss of $2 billion dollars in tobacco sales, but it's all in an effort to promote themselves as a health care provider rather than a retail business.

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