JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — "We applaud what CVS has done," said Laurie Adams, Tri-County Tobacco Free Programs project director.
Adams has been working for months to educate others about the importance of stopping the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.
"We know this is a step in the right direction to help reduce the burden of tobacco in our communities," said Adams.
CVS announced Wednesday it will pull all tobacco products off its shelves by Oct. 1 as it expands its role in providing quality health care to its customers. It's a move that will cost the nations second largest drugstore $2 billion a year.
In a statement, President and CEO Larry Merlo said:
"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
Adams says she hopes the move will lead a chain of other stores to follow CVS's lead.
"In the long term, we change the social norm and we also change the opportunity for folks to have less access to a product that kills them," said Adams.
"Quitting tobacco affects not only you, but it affects everybody around you," said Toni DeAngelo, WCA Community Health and Wellness director.
DeAngelo worked with the coalition to help make its campus smoke free.
"Quitting tobacco is one of the most preventable things you can do to decrease that burden of heart disease, diabetes and cancer," said DeAngelo.
Like WCA, CVS will also offer smoking cessation programs.
Buffalo: CVS' decision to quit selling cigarettes applauded
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Roswell Park Cancer Institute says CVS's decision to halt tobacco sales was spurred, in part, by a letter from a doctor at Roswell.
According to Roswell officials, Dr. James Marshall called on CVS to stop selling tobacco products a few years ago.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan held a press conference Wednesday at Roswell to celebrate the store's decision. He also called on Rite Aid, Walgreens and other pharmacies to follow CVS's lead.
Ryan said the contradictory message of pharmacies selling tobacco is dangerous to the public.
"It's just a contradiction in nature. It would be as if your doctor sold cigarettes in the waiting room. They don't do that because it's a mixed message," said Assemblyman Ryan, D-Buffalo.
There are 7,600 CVS stores across the country, nearly two dozen of which are in Western New York.