Contributors to a recent New York Times “Room for Debate” column have urged CVS Caremark Corp. to stop selling soda, energy drinks and high-calorie snacks in the wake of its decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco products. Noting in her debate response that “food is not tobacco,” New York University Nutrition Professor Marion Nestle nevertheless encourages the retailer to increase its sales of fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks while decreasing the availability of items like soda, ice cream and chips. “If CVS wants to counter obesity,” she opines, “dropping soft drinks is a good place to start. They have scads of sugars, and kids who drink them regularly take in more calories, are fatter and have worse diets than kids who do not.”
In addition, a senior scientist at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions calls on CVS pharmacies to prohibit the sale of caffeinated energy drinks to children younger than age 18. “The American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine and the American Medical Association have all issued statements recommending against energy drink use by children and adolescents,” writes Kathleen Miller. “By restricting sales to minors, CVS could take another pioneering step in promoting the health of its most vulnerable customers.” See The New York Times, February 7, 2014.