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US drugstore giant CVS to stop all sales of cigarettes to promote health

WASHINGTON -- The second largest U.S. drugstore chain, CVS, announced Wednesday it will soon quit selling cigarettes, a decision U.S. President Barack Obama hailed as a “powerful example.”

CVS said its 7,600 stores across the country will cease tobacco sales by Oct. 1, despite the projected US$2 billion revenue loss the move will entail each year.

Larry Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Caremark, described the decision as “the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health.”

“Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose,” he said in a statement.

CVS is the first national U.S. pharmacy chain to take such dramatic action to discourage smoking, although some other major retailers like Target have already stopped cigarette sales.

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