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Editorial: Good move by CVS

CVS is getting some well-deserved praise after announcing that it will stop selling tobacco products by Oct. 1.

With 7,600 stores nationwide, CVS is the nation's second largest drugstore chain. Company officials said the move makes sense as it continues to grow its health-care business.

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Chief Medical Officer Dr. Troyen A. Brennan said the presence of tobacco in its stores has made for some awkward conversations.

"One of the first questions they ask us is, 'Well, if you're going to be part of the health-care system, how can you continue to sell tobacco products?'" Brennan told The Associated Press. "There's really no good answer to that at all."

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Smoking declined through the latter part of the 20th century, and is at about 18 percent of adults, according to The AP, which also noted that the decline has pretty much stagnated since 2004.

A large percentage of those who do smoke say they want to quit, and with more and more places banning smokers in recent years, perhaps the number of smokers will decline further.

The AP, citing Food and Drug Administration statistics, noted that tobacco is responsible for about 480,000 deaths a year in the U.S. Additional costs include a greater likelihood of increased sick time and high medical bills.

President Barack Obama, in a written press release, praised CVS for its decision. "As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example, and today's decision 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," Obama said.

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The AP noted that CVS says it is likely to lose about $2 billion in annual revenue with the move. In all likelihood, a lot of that revenue will be made up as the chain continues to offer more health-related services.

But it is still good to see a major corporation make a move like this, even though it will at least initially have a negative impact on the bottom line.

As places where people go to get their health-care needs met, it just makes sense for places like CVS to focus on products and services that will help keep us well as opposed to those that are known to have a negative impact on our lives.

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