A number of health organizations and a state lawmaker called on all drug stores to stop selling cigarettes.
Representatives from the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society and Mobilize Against Tobacco for Connecticut's Health, or MATCH, joined with Sen. Richard Blumenthal for a news conference Monday.
The news conference took place at the CVS store at 750 Main Street in Hartford.
There, they asked for stores to follow the lead of CVS Caremark Corp. The drug store chain announced last week that it would end its sales of tobacco products at its 7,600 locations nationwide.
"We recognize that $1.5 billion in tobacco sales represents a significant sum for CVS Caremark," said AHA state government relations director John Bailey. "And that makes this decision even more admirable."
Bailey said all pharmacies play an vital role in protecting the health of Americans.
"We're very pleased with the decision CVS has made to stop selling tobacco products," said Bryte Johnson of the MATCH Coalition. "Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of death in Connecticut and its casualties are too high and its cost is too great."
Jeffrey Seyler of the American Lung Association echoed that statement.
"As we know, tobacco is still the leading cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," Seyler said. "So we call on all retailers to join ranks and remove tobacco."
CVS said in a statement last week that "the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health."
It said all of its stores will stop selling cigarettes by Oct. 1.
"The message is profoundly important," Blumenthal said. "but the practical effect is also significant because a lot of cigarettes are bought in these pharmacies and they are making a sacrifice and profits, but they're saving lives.
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