In February of 2014, CVS Pharmacies announced that the company would no longer sell cigarettes of any kind in their thousands of retail stores, including e-cigarettes. Customers watched as the shelves began to empty, little by little, later that following August. And stockholders began to take note as CVS Caremark began losing an estimated $2 billion per year as a result of the ban. By October, not a single cigarette of any kind could be found in any of the 7,700 nationwide stores.
Is Obama to Blame?
$2 billion dollars sounds like a great deal of money, but this amount is only 0.4 percent of its total annual revenue. CVS is a $126 billion dollar organization and also the largest provider of prescription drugs in the United States. Many insiders are somewhat skeptical about the timing of the CVS ban itself. Obamacare came into law on January 1, 2014, and by the following March 31 every American was legally required to have health coverage. In between those two dates was when CVS made their cigarette ban announcement. Many speculate that CVS will essentially not be losing any money at all, simply because Obamacare infused the CVS tills with massive amounts of extra cash, money from all of those newly insured Obamacare Americans.
The San Mateo Ban
Perhaps even more remarkable is that certain counties, cities, and even federal governments are getting in on the action. On October 22, 2014, the San Jose Mercury News ran a story, reporting that the San Mateo County Government was not only outlawing the use of smoking tobacco and cigarettes in public places, but the ban was now expanding to include to apartment buildings, condominium complexes, townhomes, and any other private residence that happened to be located in a multi-family structure. In fact, it is even illegal to walk outside your apartment and smoke in the courtyard. Any building that shares walls, floors, or ceilings between individual residences is included in this ban. The reasoning? The second hand smoke can easily waft between the structural components of the building and into the homes of non-smokers and small children.
Great Britain Weighs In
By September 3, 2014, The Ithaca Journal reported that Tomkins County would begin an immediate ban on electronic cigarettes in public spaces, including restaurants, nightclubs, bars, taverns, and all professional workplaces. And perhaps even most alarming is the current proposed legislation from of the British Parliament, attempting to make smoking illegal for anyone born after the year 2000. This would include both tobacco and electronic cigarettes alike. British statistics show that 80% of adult smokers began in their teens. The writers of the legislation are also citing the rising costs of healthcare as a primary reason for the proposed legislation, which oddly seems to tie in with the CVS ban in the United States last February.
So, is this a government conspiracy or just paranoid lawmakers who have no idea of the major, significant health differences between tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes? Or perhaps, just perhaps, it is a combination of both.