We should all give CVS a standing ovation for its decision to stop selling cigarettes. However, today’s news that CVS is helping reduce smoking in the US is a ‘tough pill to swallow’. Should anyone be surprised this research was lead by CVS’ Health Research Institute and their Chief Medical Director is the spokesperson?

Does not selling cigarettes = stopping smoking?

It’s understandable that CVS wants to remind everyone of their pioneering decision to stop selling tobacco products. However, any visit to CVS for a legitimate health need provides an opportunity to indulge in candy, chips and ice cream. And I know EXACTLY where those Ben and Jerry’s pints are kept.

Certainly, my knee jerk reaction isn’t original as every reporter is referencing this idea, but it just smacks of insincerity. Is anyone in population health – beyond the folks at CVS’ Health Research Institute – buying this?! Personally, I look forward to reading WHEN the company has made an impact on this public health crisis. Being a Rhode Island-based company, I’m confident some might agree this is as credible as the NFL’s ‘independent’ Wells Report going after Tom Brady and deflated footballs. There isn’t anything there…. YET!

CVS, please don’t fall into the same ‘research’ death spiral that the tobacco companies have tried for years… that there isn’t any connection between smoking and cancer. You will get there, along with all the other retailers who take a stand — but allow the NEJM to write that headline for you.