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Hackensack University Health Network praises CVS decision to pull tobacco products from shelves

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Hackensack physicians serve as the medical directors within several CVS Minute Clinics in the state.
Hackensack physicians serve as the medical directors within several CVS Minute Clinics in the state.

When CVS Caremark announced on Wednesday that it would pull cigarettes and other tobacco products from its shelves — permanently — Hackensack University Health Network issued a public pat on the back.

There are more than 220 CVS locations in New Jersey alone.

"For CVS Caremark to make this type of decision truly demonstrates their unwavering commitment to the people it serves," Hackensack's President and CEO Bob Garrett said in a statement Wednesday. "Despite the billions of dollars in revenue that tobacco products generate, CVS Caremark is making a bold statement that it values the health of its consumer base more than its profit margin. This is a commendable and admirable move to make in today's health care climate."

Hackensack partnered with CVS's Minute Clinic division in 2012 to expand access to convenient, affordable health care services in northeast New Jersey. Now, Hackensack physicians serve as medical directors for seven of CVS's walk-in Minute Clinics in the state.

The move by CVS will pull tobacco products from 7,600 stores nationwide in a move that CVS' president and CEO, Larry Merlo, called "the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company.

"The significant action we're taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace," Merlo continued.

Target and Wegmans pulled tobacco products from their shelves years ago, according to reports. So the question is, who will be next?

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