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WOONSOCKET – CVS Caremark Corp. will stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 retail stores nationwide by Oct. 1 this year, the pharmacy chain announced last week.
“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 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners,” said Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, in a video posted to the company’s website. “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”
CVS Caremark is the first national pharmacy chain to make the decision to pull tobacco products from its stores, Merlo said. Representatives of Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp., CVS Caremark’s major competitors, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In announcing the decision to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco at CVS retail stores, Merlo cited chronic medical conditions treated by CVS health care professionals such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which are exacerbated by smoking.
“Removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do,” he said.
CVS Caremark expects to lose approximately $2 billion in annual revenue generated by tobacco sales and other purchases made by shoppers drawn to CVS drugstores for tobacco products. The impact to 2014 earnings per share is expected to be in the range of 6 to 9 cents. •