The nation’s largest drug store has stopped selling cigarettes and all other tobacco products at more than 7,600 stores nationwide, according to a company announcement.
“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company,” said a statement published on the company’s website. “The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”
The company, which is tweaking its name to become known as CVS Caremark, announced that all of its pharmacy locations are tobacco free as of September 3, 2014, nearly a month ahead of schedule.
Smoking is the leading cause of premature disease and death in the United States with more than 480,000 deaths each year.
While the prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from approximately 42 percent of adults in 1965 to 18 percent today, the rate of reduction in smoking prevalence has stalled in the past decade.
“CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer of CVS Health. “Putting an end to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use.”
By removing tobacco products from retail shelves, the company says it will better serve patients and health care providers while positioning itself for future growth as a health care company.
“Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered,” said Larry Merlo, president and CEO. “This is the right thing to do.”
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