CVS To Stop Selling Cigarettes, But At A Cost

Image via Flickr/ Generic Brand Productions

CVS/pharmacy announced today that it plans to stop selling cigarettes and all tobacco products in its 7,600 nationwide stores. CVS Caremark made the announcement on its site, stating, “The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.” And to better serve that purpose, tobacco products will be off the shelves by Oct. 1.

This is a major step for the pharmacy and the first of its kind. According to the press release, CVS is the first national pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes and related products.

And it probably wasn’t an easy decision to make. While it sounds like a no-brainer for a health care company to support good health, giving up cigarettes will have some major implications for CVS’s bottom line. Tobacco products sell themselves and are always profitable for a company.

As the press release points out, CVS will lose about $2 billion in revenue each year because of this decision. That’s the difference of about 17 cents per share. Because the change won’t take effect until later in the year, the company estimates that its impact in 2013 will be about 6 to 9 cents per share.

Still, it’s a loss CVS can afford. In fiscal year 2012, the company saw net revenues of $123 billion.