Looking to position itself as a more health-focused drugstore, CVS has a new corporate name and initiative to help its consumers quit smoking. The company announced today that it is changing its name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health (though the store signage will still read CVS/pharmacy).
The Woonsocket, R.I.-based also made good on its February promise to stop selling tobacco products in the company's 7,700 stores around the country, while offering a number of resources to get people to quit smoking.
This is a big move for the giant drugstore chain (only second to Walgreens). The company has 68,000 retail network pharmacies and 850 MinuteClinic locations. It is the first of the drugstore giant to stop selling tobacco products. Last winter CEO Larry Merlo said tobacco accounted for $2 billion of the company's annual revenue.
The company's new "smoking cessation program" is called Start to Stop. The program entails four areas: an initial evaluation to see how ready the smoker is to quit, education and tools, medication and coaching. There is also a social-media component called #OneGoodReason where smokers can share their tobacco story.
Mike DeAngelis, the company's director of public relations says that the company set October as its deadline to be tobacco-free and "worked hard internally" to beat it. "We are very pleased to have accomplished this one month ahead of schedule."
Merlo told the Associated Press that early announcement was not due to a lack of stock. CVS shares are also up since the announcement.
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