Major drug store chain plans to stop selling tobacco

Major drug store chain plans to stop selling tobacco

(WOIO) - On September 3, 2014 CVS Caremark Corporation announced a corporate name change to Caremark Health, a move the company says reflects their broader health care commitment.

Retail outlets will remain CVS/Pharmacy.

To further their plan to provide better health services to customers, CVS plans to stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products in all of its stores starting Wednesday.

CVS is the first large drug store to make such a drastic change but medical experts hope that it will influence other large chains, such as Walgreens, to follow suit.

In February, store leaders announced they intended to seize tobacco sells by October 1.  That goal has been surpassed by nearly a month.

"For our patients and customers, health is everything and CVS Health is changing the way health care is delivered to increase access, lower costs and improve quality," announced Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health. "As a pharmacy innovation company at the forefront of a changing health care landscape, we are delivering breakthrough products and services, from advising on prescriptions to helping manage chronic and specialty conditions."

With 7,700 retail locations, CVS manages the pharmacy benefits for 65 million members and has 900 walk-in medical clinics.

"The sale of tobacco in a retail pharmacy conflicts with the purpose of the health care services delivered there," added Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health. "Even more important, there is evidence developing that indicates that removing tobacco products from retailers with pharmacies will lead to substantially lower rates of smoking with implications for reducing tobacco-related deaths."

As an added strategy to end smoking, CVS Health has kicked off a rigorous and customer focused smoking cessation campaign.

"Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and protect the health of your family, but quitting isn't easy," said Helena Foulkes, President, CVS/pharmacy.

The campaign combines the efforts of CVS/pharmacy, CVS/minuteclinic and CVS/caremark and includes four vital components: an assessment of the smoker's readiness to quit, education to give smokers the information and tools they need to quit, medication support to help curb the desire to use tobacco and coaching to help individuals stay motivated and prevent relapses.

"Today, as CVS Health, we are tobacco-free, reinventing pharmacy and taking our place among leaders in the health care community," says Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Health.

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