Here's a collection of views on the topic:
JONATHAN COHN, THE NEW REPUBLIC:
Although the announcement from CVS will take most people by surprise, public health advocates and trade groups like the American Cancer Societyhave been calling on drug stores to stop tobacco sales for a long time. The pharmacy companies never heeded the calls, since they made a lot of money on cigarettes and other such wares. But smoking isn’t exactly a growth market anymore, at least here in the U.S. Fewer and fewer people are smoking, thanks to a combination of effective advertising campaigns, cultural pressure, and higher taxes on tobacco products.
AMY PAYNE, THE FOUNDRY:
Businesses want to provide products and services that customers want to buy. If they don’t, they go out of business. But CVS’s move to change the products it offers shows that plenty of business leaders consider more than just the bottom line—they consider the values they want their companies to reflect. This is another freedom they should enjoy in America—though it has recently been denied to businesses like Hobby Lobby that are trying to defend their right to do business in accordance with their values.
ANNIE-ROSE STRASSER, THINK PROGRESS:
CVS’s decision is a big blow to already-struggling tobacco companies. Cigarette sales have been falling nationally, and are largely propped up by retail sales. Rates of smoking are also decreasing, from a high of 42 percent of Americans in the 1960s to just 21 percent of Americans today.