Quitting cold turkey
As of midnight Tuesday, CVS is no longer selling cigarettes or other tobacco products at any of its 7,700 locations across the U.S. The pharmacy chain announced the phasing out of tobacco in February, as part of CVS's push to capture a bigger slice of the growing health care industry, including as a pharmacy benefits manager for other businesses and insurers. To hit that point home, the company even changed its name to CVS Health.
The gamble for CVS is that the new health care dollars, and PR benefits of dropping cigarettes, will at least make up for the $2 billion a year it used to earn from tobacco products. Skip Snow at Forrester Research says that's possible. "If they can be perceived as a place to go to receive health care, and buy health care products, as opposed to the place to go to buy a bottle of whiskey or get your film developed," he tells The New York Times, "then they can capture more of the retail medicine dollars."