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CVS Takes Tobacco Off its Shelves

Update Date: Sep 03, 2014 09:16 AM EDT

Earlier this year in February, popular drugstore chain, CVS announced its goal of ending all tobacco sales. The company has reportedly accomplished that goal at all 7,700 store/pharmacy locations. It has also changed its name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health. Starting today, there will no longer be any cigarettes and other tobacco products stocked in CVS stores throughout the United States.

"CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. "Putting an end to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use."

The decision to remove cigarettes and tobacco products was made after the company adopted a greater "health care commitment." CVS stated that selling cigarettes and tobacco products contradicted the store's goal of offering health care to its customers. The company stated that even though the smoking rate fell from around 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent today, more could be done to lower that rate even more.

"Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs," Helena B. Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy said in a statement posted on the company's website. "The removal of cigarette and other tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy."

CEO Larry Merlo added in a statement, "Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered."

CVS will be the first national pharmacy to remove these products from its shelves. Merlo added that the company plans to incorporate a "robust smoking cessation program" that can help smokers quit the habit.

CVS was able to reach their goal a few weeks early. Their original end date for the goal was Oct. 1 2014.

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