CVS to butt out of cigarette sales

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CVSNew England-based pharmacy chain that is rapidly adding stores in Delaware is getting out of the business of selling cigarettes. CVS plans to stop selling cigarettes by Oct. 1.

Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company. The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health,” Larry Merlo, CVS CEO stated.

The company did not hide the announcement,  putting it front and center on its website.

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As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role through our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners. By removing tobacco products from our retail shelves, we will better serve our patients, clients and health care providers while positioning CVS Caremark for future growth as a health care company. Cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered. This is the right thing to do,” he concluded.

CVS has been adding free-standing stores in the state as the two largest chains   Walgreens and Rite Aid have stayed pat. The store count for CVS in Delaware is up to a dozen.

Rite Aid has been working to improve its once once fragile finances and Walgreen has even closed a few stores after acquiring Happy Harry’s several years ago.

The decision by CVS will have little impact on the ability to buy cigarettes as the number of convenience store-gas stations operated by Wawa and Royal Farms continue to expand, often near CVS locations.

The move could put pressure on Walgreen and Rite Aid to end sales. Walgreen operates small clinics in some of its stores. 

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