Schnuck Markets announced that beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the company would cease sale of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, chewing tobacco and snuff. The company plans to sell through its existing inventory through the end of the year.
“Unlike many other products, there is simply no moderate amount of tobacco use that is not harmful,” said the company's Chairman and CEO Todd Schnuck, regarding the move.
Starting Oct. 15 and continuing indefinitely, Schnucks will also offer double Schnucks Rewards points on all over-the counter smoking cessation products. The incentive is an effort to support smokers who want to quit tobacco. Schnucks will also continue its practice of not selling e-cigarettes or vaping products.
“Tobacco products are certainly a profitable part of our business, but our company’s mission is to nourish people’s lives,” Schnuck added. “Tobacco products directly contradict our core mission and that means that they simply don’t belong in our stores. We respect people’s right to make decisions that are best for them, and while we know this may not sit well with everyone, we believe it’s the right thing to do for the health of our communities and our customers, and that makes it the right decision for our company.”
According to the World Health Organization, tobacco use remains the world's leading cause of preventable death. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics have shown that more than 1,300 people die each year in the United States due to smoking-related illnesses, including more than 100 deaths per day that are a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Schnucks’ announcement comes as part of a continued focus on wellness and promoting healthier choices that create healthier generations. In the past year, the St. Louis-based retailer has also set up partnerships with local gyms and recreation centers, launched the Schnucks Healthy Kids Field Trip program to promote life skills and healthy habits to students from preschool to fifth grade, and partnered with Pink Ribbon Girls to provide cancer patients and their families with more than 10,000 meals.
Schnucks also recently introduced a wellness guide within its Schnucks Rewards app, allowing customers to view nutritional information and labels, as well as attributes such as heart smart, gluten-free, high protein and organic.