The Massachusetts-based company said Wednesday that it will phase out cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco by Oct. 1, a move that will cost about $2 billion in annual revenue but won’t affect its 2014 earnings forecast. CVS Caremark leaders say removing tobacco will help them grow the company’s business of working with doctors, hospitals and other care providers to improve customers’ health.
CVS Caremark competitor Walgreen Co., the largest U.S. drugstore chain, sells tobacco, as does the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which also operates pharmacies in its stores. But Target Corp., another major retailer with pharmacies in its stores, does not.
Tobacco is responsible for about 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration, which gained the authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009.
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