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Tobacco sales ban cuts smoking, CVS finds

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CVS Health Corp.’s move a year ago to give up tobacco seems to be helping some smokers stop or cut back as well.

The company found small but statistically significant reductions in total cigarette purchases in states where it has a large presence and ended 

tobacco sales at its stores, according to CVS researchers.

The chain quit selling tobacco products in September 2014 as part of a business decision to focus broadly on health care. Its analysis looked at cigarette sales in the following eight months. In 13 states where CVS had significant market share among drugstores, statewide cigarette sales declined 1 percent, compared with three states where CVS has no stores, the analysis found. Other pharmacies and convenience stores have not followed CVS’s decision to end tobacco sales.

"It looks like one way to get people to smoke less is to stop selling cigarettes," said Steven Schroeder, who heads the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California at San Francisco and has reviewed the CVS data. "It is a modest impact but it is favorable."

Bloomberg News

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