The decision of CVS Caremark to stop selling tobacco products in its stores, announced Wednesday, has been touted as an example of corporate responsibility. The choice, which surprised both business executives and public health experts, admirably aims to support the health of CVS customers. The Corp should take note of this commendable decision.
With its motto “students serving students,” Students of Georgetown Inc. is uniquely situated — and perhaps obligated — to do what is best for its consumers. Extensive use of tobacco obviously poses a significant risk for those who choose to partake, and secondhand smoke makes the Hilltop a less healthy and less attractive place for students, faculty and visitors alike. Eliminating tobacco sales on campus serves only to improve the health of students and the image of our university.
Short of undesirable university or government restrictions on smoking, action from private companies and individuals makes the strongest statement against cigarettes’ public health crisis. As the only retailer of tobacco products within the front gates, The Corp remains complicit in continuing the health problems against which CVS has now taken a strong stance.
Of course, Vital Vittles and Hoya Snaxa, as well as CVS, sell many other unhealthy products, from Pop-Tarts to Coca-Cola, the profits from which go toward worthy causes like scholarships and grants for student groups. However, the significance of cigarettes and other tobacco products as a direct cause of countless health risks is much greater than the risks of other products, as CVS has realized. If a national corporation can stand to lose valuable profit for this cause, so can our campus chain.
Selling cigarettes isn’t serving students.