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Gazette Premium Content CVS Caremark plans stop selling tobacco products

Associated Press Updated: February 5, 2014 at 7:31 am

CVS Caremark is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 drugstores nationwide.

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1 as it continues to focus more on health care.

CVS Caremark Corp. and other major drugstore chains have been adding clinics to their stores for several years. Their pharmacists deliver flu shots and other immunizations, and their clinics also have been expanding the care they deliver.

CVS CEO Larry Merlo says the company decided it can no longer sell cigarettes at places where it also provides health care.

The move will cost the Woonsocket, R.I., company about $2 billion in annual revenue. But CVS executives expect it to also help the health care business grow.

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