CVS stores plan to stop selling tobacco products by Oct. 1

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by AP & CBS News

The Associated Press

Posted on February 5, 2014 at 7:37 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 12:35 PM

CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1 as it continues to focus more on health care.

CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores for several years. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations, and their clinics also have been expanding the care they deliver.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo says the company decided it can no longer sell cigarettes at places where it also provides health care.

The move will cost the Woonsocket, R.I., company about $2 billion in annual revenue. But CVS executives expect it to also help the health care business grow.

President Barack Obama is praising the decision

Obama says CVS is setting a ‘‘powerful example,’’ and says the decision will help his administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths and disease and bring down health care costs.

Obama is a former cigarette smoker. First lady Michelle Obama said in 2011 that her husband had finally kicked the habit.


Obama, in a statement released Wednesday by the White House, says CVS new policy ‘‘will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.’’

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