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CVS Says It’s on Track to Remove All Tobacco Products by October 1

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CVS Caremark Corp., which announced earlier this year it will remove all tobacco products from store shelves by October 1, said it is on track to be tobacco-free by that date.

The company has 7,600 stores nationwide, and sells about $2 billion worth of tobacco products annually, according to the Chicago Tribune. Tobacco represented about 1.6 percent of the company’s revenues in 2012.

In February, the drugstore chain said it would stop selling tobacco, in order to become a true health care company. It will be the first major American pharmacy chain to stop selling tobacco products, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, the article notes.

The behind-the-counter space currently devoted to tobacco products will instead be used for smoking cessation products, and for ads promoting the chain’s tobacco-free policy, according to Helena Foulkes, the head of the company’s pharmacy division.

CVS and other drugstore chains are hoping to play a bigger role in health care, by offering in-store clinics with services including vaccinations, routine care for minor injuries and illnesses, and disease management.

So far, no other major pharmacy chains have joined CVS in agreeing to stop selling tobacco. Target has not sold tobacco products since 1996.

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