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CVS Caremark has just announced its plans to discontinue their in-store sales of all cigarette and tobacco products by October 1. The drugstore chain, which has convenient walk-in healthcare clinics (Minute Clinics), finds carrying tobacco products to be contradictory to their health-related goals.

CEO Larry Merlo stated:

"We've come to the conclusion that cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is being delivered," he said.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan feels the presence of tobacco in CVS stores makes for some 'awkward conversations' when teaming up with hospitals, physicians, and medical groups:
"One of the first questions they ask us is, `Well, if you're going to be part of the health care system, how can you continue to sell tobacco products?'" he said. "There's really no good answer to that at all."
President Obama praised the decision with his statement:
"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," the president said.
This is a bold move for CVS Caremark, and will reportedly cost the second-largest drugstore company $2 billion in revenue. The corporation claims their 2014 earnings forecast will not be affected. I have to be skeptical there and would imagine shareholders will be as well.

This is a huge company and there is talk as to whether there are other motives for CVS to make this move. Whatever their intentions, the fact remains tobacco is responsible for approximately 480,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to the FDA. I applaud CVS's decision, and can only see this as a positive move. The drugstore chain also plans to train their pharmacists to counsel customers who want to stop smoking.

For more on the story: Associated Press, Reuters

(Special thanks to Trisha MyChoice Lynch)

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 01:42 PM PST.

Also republished by Good News.

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