CVS Stops Tobacco Sales

09/04/2014 8:21 PM | Gina Gunderson

CVS Tobacco BanCVS, the giant drugstore chain that shocked the U.S. public health community and Wall Street with its decision earlier this year to remove tobacco products from its shelves by October, said cigarettes are officially no longer on store shelves a month ahead of schedule.

The move to remove tobacco products effective yesterday morning coincides with a company decision to also change its corporate name to CVS Health (CVS), from CVS/Caremark Corp. to reflect “its broader health care commitment” and desire to change the future health of Americans.

When CVS first announced in February that it would end the sale of tobacco products at its stores effective October 1, chief executive officer Larry Merlo said it would cost the company about $2 billion in annual sales, or about 3 percent of company revenues.

Merlo said in an interview with Forbes that the loss of those sales continues and “will cycle through the next 12 months.” He described the decision to stop selling tobacco as “one of those intangibles” that helps the company win new business and make up for lost sales from cigarettes and related products.

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