CVS Caremark announced today that it will stop selling cigarettes and all other tobacco products at its stores. CVS will halt tobacco sales by October 1, 2014. CVS says it made the decision out of concern for the health and well-being of its customers. CVS is the first national pharmacy chain to halt tobacco sales. The company estimates it will lose approximately $2 billion in revenues on an annual basis from the tobacco shopper.
Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark, said in a statement, "Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health. Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose. As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we're taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace."
The decision by CVS to halt tobacco sales follows a recent Surgeon General report
that linked smoking to the deaths of 480,000 Americans per year. The report also linked many more diseases to smoking. The new report came 50 years after the 1964 Surgeon General's report, the first Surgeon General report that concluded smoking causes lung cancer.