Walgreens Wants Everyone To Know It’s Continuing To Sell Cigarettes

Earlier today, CVS surprised an awful lot of people by saying it would give up $2 billion a year in cigarette sales because it’s “the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health.” Meanwhile, Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, apparently wants the world to know that it will keep on selling tobacco.

We had expected Walgreens (or Walgreen Company, if you’re into proper corporate names) to not say anything about this topic and just let CVS have its moment in the spotlight, but we were wrong.

This afternoon, a rep for an outside PR firm (you can tell because she repeatedly refers to the company as “Walgreen’s”) wrote to Consumerist with a statement attributable to a Walgreens spokesperson.

Reads the statement, complete with inexplicable and unexplained interior quotation marks:

“The company has been evaluating its tobacco line for ‘some time,’ and said it ‘will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking cessation products and alternatives that help reduce the demand for tobacco products.”

From what we can tell, the rep is actually trying to shill for some sort of smoking cessation program that Walgreens and mammoth drug company GlaxoSmithKline have put together. Because there is much more money to gained by selling people both the product they are addicted to and a program that may help them quit.

[NOTE: It's been pointed out to us that GSK holds the U.S. license on Nicorette smoking cessation products.]

We’ve reached out to Walgreens’ official PR team in the hopes of further explanation, because we’re confused why the retailer would actively want to tell the world it has given some thought to — but has ultimately decided against — getting rid of a product that is known to cause cancer and numerous other ailments.