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CVS quits tobacco for good

February 5, 2014

Vince Lombardi once said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Obviously, he wasn’t talking about smoking. And as far as quitters go, if good health is the ultimate prize, then CVS may be a big winner. Starting Oct. 1, smokers will have to get their tobacco from somewhere other than CVS. Today, CVS Caremark announced that it would be stopping all sales of cigarettes and tobacco products in their stores. According to CVS, this move will cost the company about $2 billion in sales per year.

Despite losing what is estimated to be roughly 1.6% of their annual revenue, CVS is confident in its decision to do away with tobacco sales. “As the delivery of healthcare evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care,” Larry J. Merlo, the president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

In addition to doing away with tobacco sales, CVS also plans to launch a smoking-cessation program in the spring. The program will include treatment and support literature, available both online and in print at CVS locations across the nation. As a means to support the program, nicotine gum and patches will remain available at CVS stores.

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