CVS Caremark Corp. announced Wednesday it will stop selling tobacco products at each of its more than 7,600 locations by October 2014.
“Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered,” said President and CEO Larry Merlo in a public statement.
CVS is not the first major retailer to ban the sale of cigarettes. For instance, Target dropped its cigarette sales in 1996.
However, the company’s announcement caused a stir nationwide on Wednesday. President Barack Obama, a former smoker, praised the company’s decision in a statement.
“Today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer and heart disease, as well as bring down healthcare costs – ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” Obama said.
The move comes at a price to CVS. The company estimates it will lose $1.5 billion in revenue from tobacco sales, in addition to $500 billion lost from other sales made by tobacco shoppers. CVS reported $94 billion in total revenue through the first three quarters of 2013.
CVS opened its Mount Pleasant location at 1306 S. Mission St. last year.