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CVS Announces Plan to End Cigarette, Tobacco Sales

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- CVS Pharmacy announced today that starting in October, the store will no longer sell cigarettes or other tobacco related products.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. --  A national pharmacy plans to pull tobacco products off store shelves.

CVS made the announcement Wednesday.  The store plans on ending the sales as soon as October of this year.

"Seven out of ten smokers say they want to stop smoking," says CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo.  "And about half attempt to quit each year.  It continues to be a leading case of illness and death in our country."

That's just one reason CVS Pharmacies across the nation decided to make the change.

"I'm sure some people won't like it," says CVS shopper and Springfield resident Cara Trask.  "But I think it's a good idea if they take a stand on what tobacco can do to people."

"My new year's resolution is to quit by my birthday," says smoker and Springfield resident Freddie Sims.

Sims hopes to quit smoking by March 11.

"They're gonna lose plenty of money," he says.

The chain generates about $2 billion in tobacco and related sales.

"But at the same time, we believe this is the right decision for our company," says Merlo.

Some Springfield residents hope other pharmacies follow in CVS' footsteps.

"That would be an amazing thing," says Trask.  "I know a few people were upset about smoking in restaurants and look what it's done, we get to sit and eat our food without breathing in smoke, so one small step can make a big change."

Regardless of the chain's decision, though, smokers will still light up.

"I mean there are other places that will sell cigarettes regardless of if they stop," says Sims.  "That's money they're losing and that's that."

Merlo says CVS is evolving into more of a health care company and is working daily to help millions of patients manage high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes-- all conditions worsened by smoking.

CVS also plans to launch a national smoking cessation program in the spring.

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