CVS To Stop Selling Tobacco Products In October

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(Memphis) At the CVS pharmacy in Midtown, picking up a pack of cigarettes with your prescription will soon become a thing of the past.

CVS is kicking the habit of selling tobacco products by quitting for good.

It's a move that surprised some customers and smokers like Samantha Purdue and Antonio Murphy.

"I guess it's alright. I guess they'll be giving that business to Walgreens and I'll go there next," Purdue said.

"We all need to stop smoking, really," Murphy said.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning,"  CVS President & CEO Larry Merlo says the pharmacy will stop selling  cigarettes and all tobacco products at its more than 7,600 stores nationwide by October of this year.

"It's a real contradiction to talk about all of the things we're doing to help people on their path to better health and at the same time sell tobacco products," Merlo said.

The company's move is yet another sign of its evolution into becoming more of a health care provider than a largely retail business with its stores offering more mini-clinics and health advice.

At the Shelby County Health Department, Alicia Small is coordinator for its tobacco use prevention and control program.

"I was surprised, but surprised in a good way. It just really pushes our effort in helping to reduce the number of people who die each year of smoking and using tobacco products period and help us increase the chances of not encouraging people to start using tobacco products," Small said.

Still, the CVS tobacco ban may not be enough to force some smokers to give up, lighting up.

"No, that's my mom's job. That's my mom's job," Purdue said with a laugh.

The company's decision is expected to cost an estimated $2 billion in sales from tobacco buyers, but that's perceived as being a small dent in it's overall sales of $123 billion in 2012.alex


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