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CVS Stores End Tobacco Sales Ahead of Announced Deadline

Sep 8, 2014

In February, national pharmacy chain CVS Health announced that it would discontinue the sale of tobacco products by October 1st. On September 3rd the company said all tobacco products had been removed from store shelves nearly a month ahead of schedule.

CVS Health said the decision to remove cigarettes from its almost 7,700 stores was necessary to reconcile retail practice with the company’s position as a national provider of health products and services, reports. The company’s chief medical officer, Troyen A. Brennan, said, “CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease.” Ending sales of tobacco products “will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”

Helena B Foulkes, president of CVS/pharmacy said that “customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” according to Removing cigarettes and other tobacco products from CVS stores is an “important step” in helping people quit smoking and become healthier.

Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths annually and is the leading cause of premature disease and death. Tobacco use in the United States dropped from about 42 percent of the adult population in 1965 to about 18 percent in 2012, with more male than female smokers, and smoking more prevalent among poorer and less educated adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC says that more than 16 million Americans suffer from a disease caused by smoking. CVS hopes that reducing the availability of cigarettes will spur an additional reduction in smoking rate.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman hailed the removal of tobacco from CVS stores: “CVS clearly recognizes the contradiction of having these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that services consumers’ health care needs.” Schneiderman called for other major pharmacy chains to follow CVS’ lead, according to, asking Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Safeway, and Kroger to immediately end the sale of tobacco products, reports.

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