CVS changes name, stops tobacco sales early - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

CVS changes name, stops tobacco sales early

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • Red tide off northwest Florida could hit economy

    Red tide off northwest Florida could hit economy

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 4:32 AM EDT2014-09-17 08:32:21 GMT
    It's like Florida's version of The Blob. Slow moving glops of toxic algae in the northeast Gulf of Mexico are killing sea turtles, sharks and fish, and threatening the waters and beaches that fuel the...
    It's like Florida's version of The Blob. Slow moving glops of toxic algae in the northeast Gulf of Mexico are killing sea turtles, sharks and fish, and threatening the waters and beaches that fuel the region's...
  • Big break in ambush probe: suspect's abandoned SUV

    Big break in ambush probe: suspect's abandoned SUV

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 2:52 AM EDT2014-09-17 06:52:50 GMT
    Authorities are searching for a heavily armed survivalist suspected in an ambush that killed one Pennsylvania State Police trooper and wounded another in a heavily forested region of northeastern Pennsylvania.
    Authorities say a heavily armed survivalist with a vendetta against law enforcement is the suspect in an ambush that killed one Pennsylvania State Police trooper and wounded another in a heavily forested region of...
  • APNewsBreak: 'Easy Rider' bike going to auction

    APNewsBreak: 'Easy Rider' bike going to auction

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 1:42 AM EDT2014-09-17 05:42:09 GMT
    The Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in "Easy Rider" is coming to auction.
    The customized Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in "Easy Rider" has come to symbolize the counterculture of the 1960s. Now it's for sale.
By TOM MURPHY
AP Business Writer

As CVS sharpens its focus on customer health, the nation's second-largest drugstore chain will tweak its corporate name and stop the sale of tobacco nearly a month sooner than planned.

CVS Caremark said it will now be known as CVS Health, effective immediately. The signs on its roughly 7,700 drugstores won't change, so the change may not register with shoppers.

However, those customers will see a big change when they check out. The cigars and cigarettes that used to fill the shelves behind store cash registers have been replaced with nicotine gum and signs urging visitors to kick the tobacco habit.

A store in downtown Indianapolis also stocked free tobacco quit packs where cigarettes used to sit. The red-and-white boxes, nearly the size of a cigarette pack, contain coupons, a card showing how much a smoker can save by quitting and a booklet with Sudoku and other games to distract someone fighting the urge to smoke.

CVS and other drugstores have delved deeper into customer health in recent years, in part to serve the aging baby boom generation and the millions of uninsured people who are expected to gain coverage under the federal health care overhaul. While competitors Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. still sell tobacco, they've all started offering more health care products and added walk-in clinics to their stores while expanding the care they provide.

Drugstores now offer an array of vaccinations and flu shots, and many of their clinics can help monitor chronic illnesses like diabetes or high blood pressure.

"We're doing more and more to extend the front lines of health care," CVS CEO Larry Merlo said.

CVS still stocks its shelves with sugary snacks and other foods that are considered unhealthy. But company executives have been quick to point out that while chocolate bars in moderation pose little health risk, no amount of tobacco is considered safe.

The CVS corporate name change reflects the health push while removing a reference to the company's biggest revenue producer, its Caremark pharmacy benefits management.

The name Caremark, however, had never really registered with the average person, according to Laura Ries, president of the brand consulting firm Ries & Ries.

CVS, which is ranked 12th in the 2014 Fortune 500, announced in February that it would phase out tobacco sales by Oct. 1 because it could no longer sell smokes in a setting where health care is offered.

The CEO at CVS has said that the company expects to lose about $2 billion in revenue annually after pulling tobacco from its shelves, but executives believe they can counter that loss at least in part through growth the company may get from health care. Merlo declined estimate how much of a benefit CVS expects.

The potential revenue loss hasn't spooked investors so far. CVS shares have climbed about 22 percent since the tobacco announcement. Shares rose 83 cents to $80.56 in afternoon trading.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • US man held for alleged attempt to swim to N Korea

    US man held for alleged attempt to swim to N Korea

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 5:32 AM EDT2014-09-17 09:32:19 GMT
    An official says South Korean border guards have arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across the border into rival North Korea.
    South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across a river to rival North Korea, a South Korean defense official said Wednesday.
  • Weakened Odile heads over Mexico toward Arizona

    Weakened Odile heads over Mexico toward Arizona

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 5:22 AM EDT2014-09-17 09:22:14 GMT
    Mexico's government airlifted thousands of stranded foreign tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort of Los Cabos, as a weakened Odile headed over the Gulf of California Wednesday on a path toward the U.S....
    Mexico's government airlifted thousands of stranded foreign tourists out of the hurricane-ravaged resort of Los Cabos, as a weakened Odile headed over the Gulf of California Wednesday on a path toward the U.S. state of...
  • Shelling in eastern Ukraine, at least 1 dead

    Shelling in eastern Ukraine, at least 1 dead

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 5:22 AM EDT2014-09-17 09:22:11 GMT
    A building has been hit by rocket fire in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk, killing at least one person and adding to the growing number of civilian casualties in the region despite a nearly two-week-old...
    A building has been hit by rocket fire in the eastern Ukraine city of Donetsk, killing at least one person and adding to the growing number of civilian casualties in the region despite a nearly two-week-old cease-fire.