6 Feb 2014

US pharmacy chain to stop selling cigarettes

9:36 am on 6 February 2014

CVS, a pharmacy chain in the United States, is to stop selling cigarettes by the end of the year.

A CVS store in San Francisco, California.

A CVS store in San Francisco, California. Photo: AFP (file)

CVS said on Wednesday its 7600 stores will cease tobacco sales by 1 October, despite a projected loss of $US2 billion.

"Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," said CVS Caremark president Larry Merlo.

CVS the first national pharmacy chain to take such dramatic action to discourage smoking, although some other major retailers like Target have already stopped cigarette sales.

Some 18 per cent of Americans smoke, down from 42 per cent in the 1960s.