CVS Health Returns Unsold Tobacco to Suppliers

Originally published on in September 2014.

As CVS Caremark Corp. rebranded itself into CVS Health by going through with its decision to remove all tobacco products from store shelves, the revamped primary care services provider neglected to answer one crucial question: What’s going to happen with all of that unsold tobacco?

“All unsold tobacco inventory was returned to our suppliers,” CVS Health Public Relations Director Mike DeAngelis said in an email. “The decision to end the sale of tobacco underscores our role in the evolving health care system.”

Earlier in the month, the Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company, known mostly for its pharmacy services, officially removed all tobacco products from the shelves of 7,700 retail pharmacies under its control.

In addition, CVS Health kicked off a personalized smoking cessation campaign to help smokers kick the habit. The campaign includes four components: an assessment of the smoker’s readiness to quit, education to give smokers the information and tools they need to quit, medication support to help curb the desire to use tobacco and coaching to help individuals stay motivated and prevent relapses.

“Cigarettes have no place in a setting where health care is delivered,” DeAngelis said. “This was the right thing to do.”

CVS Health in February announced it would stop selling tobacco products by October 1. The company at the time estimated that the decision would put a small $2 billion dent in its annual sales of $125 billion.