National chain CVS Pharmacy announced Wednesday that they will be taking all cigarettes and tobacco related products off the shelves on October 1st, 2014. The parent company, CVS Caremark, is looking at an estimated $2 billion in losses in 2014 alone as a result of this move, but overall won’t affect its earnings forecast. “We’ve come to the conclusion that cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is being delivered,” CVS Caremark CEO Larry Merlo said of the decision.
In a written statement released today Merlo said:
[box type=”shadow”]As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.[/box]
What’s going on the shelves as a replacement? “Cessation programs,” including nicotine patches, and other methods of assistance for quitting. The new program slated to begin in the spring of 2014 will include stop smoking aids as well as pamphlets on how to quit and where to go for assistance.
This should come as no surprise to tobacco companies like Phillip Morris, who have already announced stock holders should brace themselves for drops in stocks values as a result of falling sales and more regulations on tobacco both at home and abroad.
h/t: Think Progress