CHARLOTTE, N.C. - All CVS stores are now tobacco-free as of Wednesday.
The nation's second-largest drugstore announced in February it would remove cigarettes and tobacco products from the shelves of its 7,700 CVS/pharmacy locations.
"CVS Health is always looking for ways to promote health and reduce the burden of disease," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer of CVS Health. "Putting an end to the sale of cigarettes and tobacco will make a significant difference in reducing the chronic illnesses associated with tobacco use."
The prevalence of cigarette smoking has decreased from 42 percent in 1965 to 18 percent in 2014.
All CVS stores will be putting up signage behind the checkout alerting customers about the change and featuring a selection of nicotine replacement products.
The company's February announcement drew praise from President Barack Obama, who said in a statement that he applauded the news.
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"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," Obama said.
CVS competitor Walgreen Co., the nation's largest 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.
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