CVS will remove all tobacco products from its 7,600 pharmacies nationwide by October 1 at a cost of up to $US2 billion in annual revenue, The Associated Press reports.
“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,” CVS President and CEO Larry J. Merlo said
. “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,” Merlo continued. “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 move addresses what public health officials and pharmacists have long seen as a hypocritical practice: patients picking up medications to treat disease, not to mention smoking-cessation products, can also add a pack of cigarettes to their purchase.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the U.S. with more than 480,000 deaths annually.
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