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Major US pharmacy pulls tobacco products

CVS Pharmacy makes a bold move to get people to stop smoking and save lives.
CVS Pharmacy makes a bold move to get people to stop smoking and save lives.

By Oct. 1 the company plans to phase out all tobacco products in stores across the country.

The pharmacy chain will lose about $2 billion in revenues annually from sales of tobacco in its 7,600 stores, but CVS Pharmacy President Helena Foulkes said it just makes sense for a firm now positioning itself as a health care company not to sell cigarettes side-by-side with medicine.

On Wednesday President Barack Obama, a former smoker who tried for years to stop, immediately praised CVS.

President Obama said in a statement that their powerful example "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."

Health officials say despite huge reductions over the past 50 years about 42 million people still smoke.

Smoking causes 480,000 deaths each year in the US and costs the country about $289 billion annually in direct medical costs and lost productivity.

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