CVS wins praise for dropping tobacco products

CVS Caremark stopped selling cigarettes and other tobacco products in its stores Wednesday in a move that won praise from public health advocates.

The company has "swiftly fortified its commitment to the health and wellbeing of its customers ... and definitively acknowledged, in no uncertain terms, that fighting cancer is good business," said American Cancer Society CEO John R. Seffrin in a statement.

"Today we celebrate CVS for being the trailblazer that we hope will embolden other retailers to join us in making this cancer's last century."

CVS had announced in February that it would pull tobacco products from its shelves, forgoing an estimated $2 billion a year in business.

Troyen Brennan, its chief medical officer, told USA Today that the company's decision could lead to 65,000 fewer deaths a year, a number that has been questioned by researchers.

CVS Caremark also changed its name to CVS Health, another move to hone its brand as a healthcare provider.