CVS Caremark Corp said on Wednesday that it would stop selling tobacco products at its 7,600 stores by October, becoming the first U.S. drugstore chain to take cigarettes off the shelf.
Public health experts called the decision by the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain a precedent-setting step that could pressure other stores to follow suit.
CVS, whose Caremark unit is a major pharmacy benefits manager for corporations and the government Medicare program, believes the decision will strengthen its position as a healthcare provider.
“I think it will put pressure on other retailers who want to be in healthcare,” said CVS Caremark Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen Brennan.