The company estimated that its decision would shave an estimated $2 billion in sales from customers buying cigarettes and other products, including incidental items like gum that those shoppers might also purchase. That is a mere dent in its overall sales of $123 billion in 2012, the latest figures available.
It appears that the decision came about as the company moves its stores towards being more of a health care provider and less general drug store:
“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said Larry J. Merlo, chief executive of CVS. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.