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CVS resigns from US Chamber over tobacco

CVS resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to conflicting beliefs over the use of tobacco products. Big mistake, or the right move?


CVS makes a bold statement

CVS has resigned from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce amid reports that the Chamber worked on behalf of tobacco companies to crack down on global anti-smoking laws. As The New York Times reported, the U.S Chamber of Commerce and its foreign affiliates were zeroing in to curb tobacco use around the world.

Their decision shouldn’t come as too great of a shock as CVS removed tobacco products from their shelves last fall. CVS was the first major U.S. drugstore chain to remove these products.

The notable irony of selling tobacco in health stores

Many customers found humor and irony in the conflict of getting carcinogens at the front of the store, but walking all the way to the back of the store to get cough medicine and vitamins: a bit of a conflict for a store so centered on health philosophies.

Even their company spokesperson addressed this issue, stating: “CVS’s purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose,” as the reason why they decided to leave the Chamber.

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Upon deeper inspection, however, CVS gave $750,000 to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year, while the Chamber was simultaneously lobbying against anti-smoking laws in Uruguay, Moldova, and New Zealand.

CVS was misled regarding how their money would be used

Apparently CVS was mislead in regards to how, where, and under what circumstances their money would be utilized. CVS stands by their decision, stating, “”It was the right thing to do for the health and well-being of our customers,” adding the company’s “purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose.”

A representative stated, “the Chamber does not support smoking and wants people to quit. [However,] we support protecting the intellectual property and trademarks of all legal products in all industries and oppose singling out certain industries for discriminatory treatment.”

Will other companies join CVS and part ways with the Chamber? Will some companies use CVS’ resignation to their advantage?


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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