VERC Courts CVS' Tobacco Customers

DUXBURY, Mass. — There has been a lot of speculation about what impact, if any, CVS Health's decision to exit tobacco retailing will have on convenience stores. One local c-store chain is not waiting to find out.

VERC Enterprises is offering CVS customers 50 cents off a pack of cigarettes with their CVS ExtraCare loyalty card. The offer is good until Sept. 30 and customers can ask VERC sales associates for details, according to the company's Facebook page.

The discount comes one week after CVS Health — formerly known as CVS Caremark Corp. — ended tobacco sales at all its stores on Sept. 3. In February, the retailer announced it would stop selling tobacco products as of Oct. 1, but CVS snuffed them out a month earlier than expected.

"Along with the start of CVS Health, the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy ends today. By eliminating cigarettes and tobacco products from sale in our stores, we can make a difference in the health of all Americans," Larry J. Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, said last week.

Several government officials have called upon other drugstores to follow suit. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) spoke outside a Walgreens store in Hartford, Conn., to urge that retailer as well as Rite Aid Corp. and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores to also halt sales of tobacco products, according to

"The reason is really a matter of common sense," Blumenthal said. "Good health and wellness and tobacco simply cannot be sold in the same store."

The senator said selling tobacco is legal, it just does not belong in a health store.

In March, the attorneys general of 28 states and territories wrote to the CEOs of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Walgreen Co., Rite Aid, Safeway Inc. and The Kroger Co., asking them to remove any and all tobacco products from their shelves, as CSNews previously reportedWalgreens also operates Duane Reade stores.

Duxbury-based VERC Enterprises is a family-owned convenience store, gasoline and car wash group operating 24 facilities in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

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