Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Erikjan Lantink
5 min readFeb 16, 2024

In 2014, CVS pharmacies in the United States decided to stop selling tobacco. It was a bold move that initially cost them a lot of sales but gave the brand a boost in awareness and public empathy. It may have taken them a while to offset this revenue decrease, but they recovered much faster than expected. People switched pharmacies because of this decision.

Here’s a quote from a statement celebrating when they were five years tobacco-free:

“We did it to be true to ourselves as a healthcare company and for you and your family. And while quitting tobacco was a momentous step, we didn’t stop there.”

The statement continues to elaborate on their steps to help create a tobacco-free generation.

Many retailers selling cigarettes to their customers have had similar conversations throughout the years about stopping their tobacco sales. Some did, most didn’t. One of the arguments often heard by those opposing the bold decision to quit selling tobacco?

“If we don’t sell it, somebody else will.”

When supermarket chains decide to stop selling cigarettes, the first shops that pop up around the supermarket locations are small outlets…



Erikjan Lantink

Business & Leadership coach. Interim Leader. Writer. Speaker. Former Retail Executive (general management; operations; HR)