CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide. The nation's second-largest drugstore chain announced Wednesday it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by October 1st as it continues to focus more on health care.
CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores for several years. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations and their clinics also have been expanding the care they deliver. CVS CEO Larry Merlo says the company decided it can no longer sell cigarettes at places where it also provides health care.
The move will cost the Woonsocket, Rhode Island company about $2 billion in annual revenue, but CVS executives expect it to also help the health care business grow.
President Obama is praising the decision, saying CVS is setting a "powerful example" that will help his administration's efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths and disease and bring down health care costs.
In a statement released by the White House, the president said CVS' new policy "will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country."
Mr. Obama is a former cigarette smoker. First lady Michelle Obama said in 2011 that her husband had finally kicked the habit.