(WOONSOCKET, R.I.) -- CVS Caremark is kicking the habit. As of Oct. 1, the nation's second-largest drug store chain will no longer sell tobacco products. In an announcement Wednesday morning, CVS Caremark President and CEO Larry J. Merlo explained the decision, saying, "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
The decision means the company will begin phasing out sales of cigarettes and all other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 CVS pharmacy retail stores nationwide. CVS Caremark is the first U.S. pharmacy chain to make such a move.
Additionally, says Merlo, this spring will see the drugstore chain "undertake a robust national smoking cessation program" that will include in-store and online resources. It will also continue to sell stop-smoking products.
CVS Caremark says it expects to lose about $2 billion a year in revenue because of the decision, or about 17 cents per share of stock.
President Obama applauded the company's decision in a statement Wednesday, saying it "will have a profoundly positive impact on the health of our country."
"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.
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