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February 5, 2014

CVS to stop selling cigarettes in October

BOSTON - CVS Caremark announced today it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its 7,600 drug stores nationwide by Oct. 1.

“Every day we are helping millions of patients manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, and all of these conditions are made worse by smoking,” company president Larry Merlo announced in a video. “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”

Tobacco products have long lured customers into retail stores where they may spend more money on other items. The publicly traded company estimates the move will cause it to forego about $2 billion in revenue.

The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company is the first national pharmacy chain to “step up” and ban the harmful products from all of its stores, and CVS will also launch a smoking cessation program in the spring, Merlo said.

In a statement following the announcement by CVS, President Barack Obama said, “As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come. I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.”

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