By October 1, 2014 CVS will cease selling tobacco products in its 7,600 stores. According to Reuters, this move makes them the first national drug store chain to remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from its store shelves.
From the article:
Public health experts hailed the precedent-setting decision by the No. 2 U.S. drugstore as a step that could pressure other retailers to follow suit. With pharmacies taking on a larger role in the U.S. healthcare system with walk-in clinics and services such as managing health plans, many experts say they should no longer offer unhealthy products like tobacco.
President Barack Obama, a former smoker, praised CVS, saying in a statement the move will help wider efforts to “reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down healthcare costs.”
CVS expects the decision to hurt profits initially, along with a $2 billion hit to annual sales. But the company, whose Caremark unit is a pharmacy benefits manager for corporations and the U.S. government’s Medicare program, believes the move will boost its appeal as a healthcare provider.
CVS hopes to replace some sales through signing up customers to smoking cessation programs, which will be a selling point with potential corporate contracts.