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CVS to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products

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The first national pharmacy chain announced today it will put the brakes on the sell of cigarettes and tobacco products. CVS has 7,600 stores nationwide — three of them here in Burbank. On October 1, 2014, CVS will no longer sell any tobacco products at any of its retail stores.

“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 in a news release.  “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

Merlo went on to say: “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.”

President Obama praised the move :

“I applaud this morning’s news that CVS Caremark has decided to stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores, and begin a national campaign to help millions of Americans quit smoking instead.  As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come.  I congratulate – and thank – the CEO of CVS Caremark, Larry Merlo, the board of directors, and all who helped make a choice that will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country.”

Smoking is reportedly the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths annually

The decision reportedly will cost the company an estimated $2 billion a year. More on the CVS decision here.

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