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CVS has officially stopped selling all tobacco products

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Almost a month ahead of schedule

CVS Caremark has officially stopped selling cigarettes and rebranded itself as CVS Health, the company announced today, delivering on a promise it made back in February.

CVS, which owns 7,700 stores nationwide, is the second-largest drug store chain in the US behind Walgreens. The decision will probably amount to $2 billion in lost revenue, according to the company, but it's part of a shift to providing more health services through walk-in clinics. CVS is betting this new business will more than make up for the lost profits.

CVS is reshaping its public image

Less than 4 percent of cigarettes are sold in pharmacies according to market research from Euromonitor. In many parts of the world, selling cigarettes in pharmacies is already considered hypocritical. (The sale of tobacco products in pharmacies is illegal in most of Canada, for example.) CVS will continue to sell smoking cessation products.

Other drug stores have gotten into the medical clinic business without dropping cigarettes, suggesting that CVS's move is more about its public image. "The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health," the company says.