BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) -
Tobacco products have now been pulled from shelves at CVS pharmacies in the ArkLaTex and beyond, some businesses may be benefiting from the move. September 3rd was the first day of the tobacco ban at all CVS stores. It happened about a month earlier than previously announced.
A specialty tobacco shop just around the corner from a CVS store in Bossier City, saw quite a bit of new customers flow through Wednesday.
Sheila Conrad, assistant manager at the Tobacco House, isn't exactly sure where the influx has come from, but she has a good hunch. "Whose to know? But we are very close to CVS," said Conrad.
The Airline Drive CVS location along with 7,700 other stores have officially said goodbye to all tobacco products. They are the first major drug store chain to kick tobacco to the curb. Leaders of the pharmacy chain hope their customers and other businesses will follow their lead and quit tobacco. Instead of cigarettes behind the counter, CVS customers will now see nicotine gum and signs encouraging customers to quit the habit.
"I don't know if it was a good decision or a bad decision," said tobacco user Marvin Coburn, who was surprised to hear the news. "In my opinion, it will probably hurt their business, because that is one of the things a lot of people go in there for," he said. "If that's the way they want to go then that's their right to go that way."
He believes people will just go somewhere else to get their fix and with the amount of people in the drive through line at the Tobacco Shop, it is something Sheila is seeing first hand.
CVS estimates removing tobacco products will cost it about $2 billion dollars in annual sales. But that's only a small part of its revenue which totaled $126 billion dollars last year.
CVS is also changing their name to sharpen its focus on customer health. It will now be known as CVS Health.
The company is also kicking off a campaign to help people quit smoking. Coaching will also be available to keep people on track. A social media campaign with the hashtag "one-good-reason" invites people to share personal stories of how smoking has affected their lives.