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CVS Will Stop Selling Tobacco in its Stores

The second-largest drugstore chain will cease sales of tobacco products by October 1, taking a $2 billion hit in sales.
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Clerks cigarettes

CVS Caremark announced today that by October 1, it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in its stores, completely. President and CEO, Larry J. Merlo, said in a statement, "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose." That is, their purpose of being a place that people turn to for health care.

Not only is CVS the first national pharmacy chain to take this step, but it's the first time in 18 years that any national retail chain has done this. (Target stopped selling tobacco products in 1996.) The nation's second-largest drugstore chain (only Walgreens is bigger) will put this ban into effect in all of its 7,600 retail stores at an estimated loss of $2 billion in annual sales. That sounds like a lot, but that's only about 1.6% of the company's total revenue. The company has said that it will recoup these losses in other areas, but did not elaborate on those plans.

Beyond stopping the sale of these items, CVS will be going a step further with plans to launch a "national smoking cessation program" that will launch this spring. The program will include information available in-store and online, plus access to treatment in CVS pharmacy and Minute Clinic locations.


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Jeff Somogyi is the DealNews Media Editor. Since working here he's written deals, features, promotional and newsletter copy, blog posts, as well as scripts for our videos. Follow him on Google+, Twitter at @sommerjam or his blog.
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14 comments
romanrob
Do you sad people really believe this has anything to do with then giving a darn? If someone kills your family after driving drunk(from beer bought at their store) you'll be comforted by knowing they were driving somewhere else to buy cigarettes.
Greg the Gruesome
Sheesh. I hate being around someone who's smoking as much as the next non-smoker, but it's no skin off my nose if a store I shop at sells tobacco products. It's not like removing tobacco products from pharmacy chains will significantly impact smoking rates since there will still be lots of other places to find them.

@aframie "CVS will lose business over this... people will stop making the trip for cigarettes, in turn, losing impulse sales."

That's taken into account in the "estimated loss of $2 billion in annual sales" stated in the feature. However, I heard on the news that this comes out to 17 cents per share. Will the stockholders tolerate it?

@msoo

LOLWUT

@rulez7009

Fortunately for you, CVS will also continue to sell aluminum foil for you to make hats out of.
rulez7009
"what about all the junk food, snacks, beer, alcohol and wine they sell?..."

what about all of the pharmaceuticals they sell? Those are unnatural and hurt tons of people annually.
Kyser_Soze
ijoe said "what about all the junk food, snacks, beer, alcohol and wine they sell?..."

Nobody puts those products in their mouth for a couple of seconds and then spits it out all over the other people near them. Smoking is disgusting.
msoo
They already hide the product in the photo dept. This is a minor portion of their profit. They simply figured out the cost/benefit formula. The cost was excess inventory.... the benefit ..free advertising that exceeds any potential profit. They are not altruistic, they simply made a good marketing decision.
aframie
Drugstores, while they do offer pharmaceuticals and are there for health... Are also convenience stores.They do not profit from selling cigarettes, they're not there to make money. It's for convenience. They don't sell them to spite anyone. If you don't want them, don't buy them! Walgreens will continue to sell cigarettes but they also offers smocking cessation products and healthier alternatives. CVS will lose business over this, not from the health-nut, liberal nazis but people will stop making the trip for cigarettes, in turn, losing impulse sales. People need to get over the whole tobacco thing... There are many people that still smoke and will continue to, whether you agree with it or not. For those that do smoke, won't be shopping at CVS anymore. If it didn't affect you to begin with, why do you even care?
Crismodin
Kinda funny though - When I tried quitting smoking I tried the CVS brand (habitrol) of their nicotine patches and they were pretty crap unless you didn't do anything at all during the day because they would keep falling off. I ended up sticking with the Walgreens brand which hurt like hell taking them off but at least they were guaranteed to stay on my arm all day. I have been quit for two years now with the help of the Walgreens nicotine patch.
anday82
Support your local pharmacy that never has sold tobacco
Ken_T
Great news, Finally a drug store chain I can fully support! Walgreens will be losing my business.
thedme
Yeah, I always thought it was incongruent that a pharmacy would sell tobacco, so kudos to them. Nevertheless, I do not think this will deter people from smoking, since the selling of tobacco is so common place, every gas station and most stores sell them.
ijoe
what about all the junk food, snacks, beer, alcohol and wine they sell? c'mon
jlanda
Fantastic ... More stores should take a stand!
just me
Such awesome news! Progress!
dealnewsgrub
Many more to come, hopefully!
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