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VMR Press Room

Survey: Two Year After CVS Announced It Would Stop Selling Tobacco Products, 52% Of Smokers Say The Decision Has Made It Harder To Buy Cigarettes

Only a quarter agree with the move but most believe reduced access is beneficial

Miami, FL (February 17, 2016) – V2®, one of the nation’s leading brands of electronic cigarette and vaporizer products, today announced the results of a commissioned study examining the response to and impact of CVS’s decision to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. The survey focused on several aspects of the CVS decision, which was announced in February 2014, including smokers’ reactions, how their lives have changed since, and substitute points of purchase. The study polled 300 cigarette smokers across the U.S. between February 8-12, 2016. All respondents had previously purchased cigarettes from a CVS location.

33% Disagreed With The Decision

33% of those surveyed said that they disagreed with CVS’s choice to end tobacco sales, while a quarter (24%) agreed. The majority, however, were on the fence, with 43% saying that they’re “neutral.”

For those that disagreed, the overwhelming majority did so because they felt cigarettes were being unfairly targeted by CVS. 83% said “CVS sells other products – like alcohol and candy – that are bad for you and cigarettes shouldn’t be singled out.” Only 14% said that they disagreed because they bought most of their cigarettes at CVS prior to the decision.

For those that agreed with the decision, 60% said CVS “sells health products” and cigarettes just “didn’t make sense” as part of the product mix. 36% agreed because they thought the move “could help to reduce cigarette smoking” more broadly.

52% Say It’s Now Harder to Buy Cigarettes

52% said that CVS’s decision to stop selling cigarettes has impacted their ability to purchase cigarettes regularly. Of that group, 38% called the impact manageable, stating that “buying cigarettes is now harder but I have other options” and 14% said it made buying them “much harder.”

Nearly half (48%) said that CVS’s decision had little impact on their cigarette purchases and that they did not purchase cigarettes frequently enough from CVS to be affected.

Gas Station C-Stores Getting CVS’s Sales

When asked to identify where they are buying cigarettes now that CVS has stopped selling tobacco products, “gas stations” were the number one choice at 39%.

Walmart and Walgreens were tied for second place, with 20% each, while third-place was a two-way tie between 7-Eleven and “a local store (not part of a chain)” at 8%. The top-five was rounded out with “dollar stores” (7%) and Rite Aid (3%).

“Gas stations, in our survey, covers a wide range of c-store retailers and brick-and-mortar brands,” said Adam Kustin, Vice President of Marketing at V2. “It’s no secret that most cigarettes are sold in this channel. With CVS halting their sales, c-stores are getting additional customers. Another factor to consider is that gas prices across the country are at a ten-year low, meaning stations are seeing more business and transaction volume, with cigarette sales getting a boost secondarily.”

44% Say Reduced Access Is Good

Asked to rate the reduced cigarette access from the CVS decision as either “good” or “bad,” 44% called it good, saying that, despite them being harder to buy, “I want to quit smoking and this helps.” Only 23% said that it was a “bad” decision, citing inconvenience. 33% were neutral.

Though they no longer sell tobacco products, CVS still offers tobacco and smoking alternatives in-store nationwide. However, they do not currently sell electronic cigarettes as part of that offering. When asked if CVS should offer electronic cigarettes and vaporizers as a like-for-like alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, the majority (51%) said that they should. 28% said “no,” with 20% undecided.

“Electronic cigarettes are a real alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes,” added Kustin. “According to the data, most smokers want these devices available to them as options in CVS stores and other retailers.”

About VMR Products:
Founded in 2009, VMR Products has quickly become a global force in the electronic cigarette industry with its V2® brands. VMR designs, produces, distributes and supports an expanding catalog of quality products, as well as a growing list of private-label marketers in more than 25 countries. VMR is the only electronic cigarette company to employ a vertically integrated business model, managing its entire product life cycle to ensure the highest commitment to quality control and customer service.
V2®, the world’s No. 1 volume online retailer of electronic cigarettes, has distinguished itself as an industry leader with its ever-expanding product lines, powerful vapor production and great taste.

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PR Contacts:
Chris Harihar, Crenshaw Communications for VMR Products