CVS Caremark Corp., parent company of CVS Pharmacy, one of the country’s most popular drugstore giants, announced Wednesday that it will cease the sale of tobacco products in all 7,600 of its stores by Oct. 1., USA Today reports.
According to the news site, the pharmacies sell about $1.5 billion in tobacco each year, but officials are now saying that selling tobacco isn’t in line with their promotion of wellness.
“Selling tobacco is very inconsistent with being in that business,” said Helena Foulkes, CVS’s president. “We really thought about this decision as it relates to the future as a health company—it’s good for customers and our company in the long run.”
Foulkes told USA Today that the chain hopes to become an alternative to a trip to the doctor’s office, with an almost 30,000-strong team of pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping customers control their cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure.
“Any form of tobacco use makes those chronic conditions more difficult to deal with,” she said. “This is good for business and the right thing to do.”
First lady Michelle Obama offered her praise for the sweeping decision in a tweet.
The president—who was a smoker before quitting shortly after taking office, under threats, he has said jokingly, from his wife—also gave strong support to CVS’ decision.
“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today’s decision will help advance my administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs—ultimately saving lives and protecting untold numbers of families from pain and heartbreak for years to come,” he said in a statement.
Read more at USA Today.