Beaumont residents ponder impact of CVS pulling tobacco from store shelves

A popular drugstore chain is taking a bold move. The CEO of CVS says his company will stop selling tobacco products and give up roughly 2 billion dollars a year in sales. He says pulling those products off shelves will improve the health "of all Americans." Joe Billubs is thrilled that CVS will no longer sell tobacco.

"A good idea...that'll help a whole lot of people stop smoking," Billubs said.

Drugstore competitor Walgreens is still evaluating if its a good thing. There are those who sound doubtful that the elimination of just one tobacco retailer will translate into less smoking. 

Lamar student Roger Hoff said, "not in Beaumont. In CVS, yes. But as a city, no. It's not like they're going to go without tobacco. [If] they want it, they're going to get it regardless."

Mohammad Nahian works at Sunshine Smoke Shop which is within walking distance of the CVS pharmacy on Phelan in Beaumont. He isn't sure the effort will have an impact.

"It might be helpful, I don't know... either, like, it might be... but they should have, take some other initiative too," said Nahian.

CVS is doing just that; the drugstore company is also rolling out a smoking cessation program that includes information, coaching, and even medication support. Some locals think every effort helps to encourage healthy living.

"I've noticed a marked difference just in the last 15 years myself, just by cutting it out in restaurants, in movie theaters and everywhere else. You don't see that many people smoking anymore," said Kirbyville resident John Gilchrist.

Gilchrist doesn't see as many smokers, but studies show smoking still kills 500,000 Americans every year. One salesperson at the Sunshine Smoke Shop said business picked up this week but she isn't sure if it's due to the fall routine kicking in or if former CVS customers are stopping in.


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