CVS Caremark, the second largest drugstore chain in the United States, has announced that it will stop selling tobacco products in their stores. What do you think, Disinfonauts? The chain cheerfully sells suitcases of beer, cheap, fatty snacks and prescription narcotics – is this an empty gesture? Apparently the Smoker-In-Chief approves…
The announcement drew swift praise from President Barack Obama, who said the move would save lives.
The 7,600 CVS shops in the US will have tobacco products off the shelves by 1 October, CEO Larry Merlo said.
The move will cost the company about $2bn (£1.22bn) in annual revenue but is “the right thing to do”, he said.
“Tobacco products have no place in a setting where healthcare is delivered,” Mr Merlo said in a videotaped statement posted on the publicly traded company’s website.
“When we asked ourselves where we expect to be in the future as a healthcare company, it became clear that removing tobacco products from our stores is the right thing to do.”
Mr Merlo said CVS Caremark, which employs 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners, would be the first national pharmacy chain to take this action.
He said the company’s employees worked every day to help patients manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which he said were aggravated by tobacco use.
And he said the company would launch a smoking cessation programme in the spring, aimed at those who want to quit tobacco.
CVS Caremark, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, made $125bn in sales last year.
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