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Pedestrians walk by a CVS store on November 5, 2013 in San Francisco, California.
Drugstore and pharmacy chain CVS announced today that they plan to end sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products by October 1. The discontinuation of tobacco sales is, according to CVS president and CEO Larry Merlo, in line with the chain’s efforts to become a larger part of providing healthcare to customers.
CVS already offers pharmacy services including flu shots, and may also introduce clinics and pharmacy counseling. Sale of tobacco products, Merlo says, are inconsistent with the chain’s purpose.
According to the Los Angeles Times, CVS is the first national pharmacy to cease tobacco sales -- CVS caremark is the second largest drugstore after Walgreens Co.
How will the discontinuation of tobacco products at such a large retailer affect other chains’ approaches? Will CVS’s efforts lose customers, or will refocusing on providing healthcare prove a successful move for the store? Is it “inconsistent” for chains offering health services to sell products that are damaging to consumer health?
Howard Davidowitz, Retail Analyst