CVS Caremark (CVS) is pushing the health angle of its more than 7,600 stores, pledging to drop all cigarette and tobacco products by October of this year.
CVS said the move is expected to cost it more than $2 billion but — somehow — is not expected to impact the company’s 2014 earnings.
Company heads said that carrying the tobacco products have made for difficult conversations with both customers and health care providers, and that the move will grow CVS’ business of working with doctors, hospitals and other care providers. (via the Associated Press)
CVS Caremark has been working to team up with hospital groups and doctor practices to help deliver and monitor patient care, and the presence of tobacco in its stores has made for some awkward conversations, CVS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan said.
“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 (a former smoker himself) released a statement praising the news.
“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 in the statement.
CVS did not say what it would replace in its prominent rack space behind the counter.
CVS stock is down 7% year to date.
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