CVS announced Wednesday that starting Oct. 1 it will stop selling all tobacco products in order to re-position itself as a health care provider.
"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," Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, said in a release. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
Many are applauding CVS’s move saying the retailer’s actions will set the precedent forcing other stores to follow suit.
“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," said President Barack Obama in a statement.
In recent months anti-smoking efforts have been ratcheted up by different organizations including the American Lung Association and the federal government. Last month acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak released a 980-page report detailing a new resolve to make the country's next generation smoke free, The Associated Press reported.
CVS’s biggest competitors, Rite Aid and Walgreens have not said whether they will follow in CVS’s footsteps, however Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham did say they “will continue to evaluate the choice of products our customers want, while also helping to educate them and providing smoking-cessation products and alternatives that help to reduce the demand for tobacco products."
The 7,600 chain of stores will slowly phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco that provided the company with about $2 billion in sales per year, CNN reported.
But CVS has enjoyed growing revenue's over the past couple of years thanks to their expanding pharmaceutical services, and don't expect to see a big dent in profits, Fox News indicated.