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Most Smokers Don't Buy Their Cigarettes At CVS

When CVS said it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products at its 7,600 pharmacies by October, President Obama hailed the company for setting a "powerful example."

The announcement Wednesday made us wonder — how many people actually buy their cigarettes from drugstores, anyway?

For answers, we turned to a 2012 survey of the retail tobacco market in the U.S. conducted by research firm Euromonitor International.

Most people, by far, buy their cigarettes at convenience stores — 63.4 percent, all told. Only 3.6 percent of people get them at drugstores.

So the CVS decision, by itself, isn't likely to turn the smoking tide.

Even so, CVS's stand could still be influential. The Wall Street Journal wrote that "CVS's move is expected to put pressure on its main rivals — Walgreen, Rite Aid Corp. and even Wal-Mart Stores to adopt similar measures."

There's also a precedent north of the border. Canadian provinces and territories began banning the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies about 20 years ago. British Columbia is now the only province that doesn't restrict cigarette sales in privately owned drug stores, according to the CBC.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alan Yu