CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy locations, including both Turlock locations, by Oct. 1.
CVS is the second-largest drugstore chain in the U.S. and will be the first national pharmacy chain to kick the habit of selling tobacco products in-store. Some other stores online, like some Canadian Pharmacy websites, have already taken this step.
“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,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”
CVS’s decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association. All have publicly opposed the sale of tobacco products in retail stores with pharmacies.
“CVS Caremark is continually looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H. “Stopping the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”
Along with the removal of tobacco products, CVS will also launch a smoking cessation program this Spring. The program is expected to include information and treatment at CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations, as well as online resources.
The company estimates it will lose about $2 billion in annual revenue from the removal of cigarettes and tobacco products.