FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- CVS pharmacy will stop selling cigarettes and all other tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide, including in Fairfield County, by Oct. 1, the company announced Wednesday.
CVS will be the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products.
"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," President and CEO of CVS Caremark Larry J. Merlo said in a statement. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
Merlo also spoke about the decision in a video, seen above, released by the Rhode Island-based company.
In addition to removing cigarettes and tobacco products for sale, the company will launch a smoking cessation program.
The program, to be launched in the spring, is expected to include information and treatment on smoking cessation at CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic along with online resources. The program will be available broadly across all CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations and will offer additional comprehensive programs for CVS Caremark pharmacy benefit management plan members to help them to quit smoking.
Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths annually. The number of adult smokers has reduced from 42 percent in 1965 to just 18 percent today, but the rate of reduction has stalled, according to CVS.
CVS Caremark's decision to stop selling tobacco products is consistent with the positions taken by the American Medical Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and American Pharmacists Association that have all publicly opposed tobacco sales in retail outlets with pharmacies.
"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," said Helena B. Foulkes, president of CVS pharmacy, in the statement. "Removing tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy."