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Tobacco eliminated at CVS

NO SMOKING: CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that beginning on Oct. 1, 2014, their stores will stop selling all tobacco products.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

NO SMOKING: CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that beginning on Oct. 1, 2014, their stores will stop selling all tobacco products.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

CVS Caremark announced Wednesday that beginning on October 1, 2014, CVS/pharmacy will stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products.

In a press release, CVS said it would affect more than 7,600 stores nationwide, including the CVS Pharmacy in Picayune.

According to the press release, “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.”

CVS Caremark is the first pharmacy chain to stop the sale of tobacco products in their stores, said Larry Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark.

Merlo said that each day CVS Caremark helps patients manage chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are “made worse by smoking.”

“Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered,” Merlo said.

Merlo said CVS Caremark would launch a “smoking cessation” campaign this spring to help their customers quit smoking.

According to a Mississippi Department of Health report, 30.5 percent of males and 21.8 percent of females in Mississippi smoke. Nineteen percent of high school students and 5.8 percent of middle school students reported they smoke.

The national average of adults, who smoke, according to the Center for Disease Control, is 19 percent with 21.6 percent of smokers being male and 16.5 percent being female.

Mississippi also ranks in the top seven for the highest percentage of adult smokers in the United States.

CVS Caremark is the second-largest drugstore chain in the nation and removing all tobacco products from their shelves will cost about $2 billion in revenue.