“We value the long term relationship we had with CVS and respect their commercial decision. We will work with them as they transition out of the tobacco category in the coming months,” said David Howard, a spokesman at Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc., RAI 0.10% Reynolds American Inc. U.S. NYSE $49.71 0.05 0.10% Feb. 26, 2014 4 01 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 3.04M AFTER HOURS $49.71 0.00 0.00% Feb. 26, 2014 4 28 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 1,573 P/E Ratio 15.83 Market Cap $26.72 Billion Dividend Yield 5.39% Rev. per Employee $1,556,900 02/11/14 Reynolds Profit Up Despite Low… 01/10/14 One of Corporate America&#39 s Big… More quote details and news RAI in Your Value Your Change Short position the second largest U.S. tobacco company.

Lorillard Inc., LO 1.17% Lorillard Inc. U.S. NYSE $47.74 0.56 1.17% Feb. 26, 2014 4 00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 4.06M AFTER HOURS $47.98 0.24 0.50% Feb. 26, 2014 5 00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 55,662 P/E Ratio 15.17 Market Cap $17.72 Billion Dividend Yield 5.15% Rev. per Employee $2,396,550 02/12/14 Lorillard Profit Falls, But Sa… 01/10/14 One of Corporate America&#39 s Big… 12/26/13 Holy Smokes E Cigarette Ads D… More quote details and news LO in Your Value Your Change Short position maker of Newport cigarettes and the No. 3 player, declined to comment.

Shares of the three tobacco companies fell between 0.8% and 2.3% in trading Wednesday.

The CVS move drew praise from the White House and other government officials. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called the CVS move “an unprecedented step in the retail industry.”

Federal, state and local regulators are stepping up anti tobacco efforts. The Food and Drug Administration is launching a $115 million, yearlong media blitz including television advertisements next week targeting teenage smokers. The FDA is also considering curbs on menthol flavored cigarettes and the White House last year proposed roughly doubling the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

Some municipalities have balked at the incongruous combination of pharmacies and cigarettes. Since 2008, San Francisco and Boston and more than a dozen towns in Massachusetts have banned retail pharmacies from selling tobacco products.

Lawmakers in several states including Colorado and Ver
mont want to raise the legal smoking age to 21 years from 18 years, following in the footsteps of New York City. Some states including Kentucky and Alabama are weighing tax increases. A pack of cigarettes in Chicago already has $6.16 in state and local taxes, up from, $3.66 less than two years ago.

Pharmacies aren’t the first place consumers go to buy a pack of smokes. Of the nearly 290 billion cigarette sticks sold in the U.S. in 2012, 47.5% were purchased at gas stations, 21.1% in specialty tobacco stores and 15.9% in convenience stores, according to Euromonitor International. Pharmacies handled only 3.6% of volume.

Still, dropping tobacco products is a rare move by a big retailer. Target Corp. TGT 7.04% Target Corp. U.S. NYSE $60.49 3.98 7.04% Feb. 26, 2014 4 00 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 23.96M AFTER HOURS $60.89 0.40 0.66% Feb. 26, 2014 7 59 pm Volume (Delayed 15m) 233,609 P/E Ratio 19.51 Market Cap $35.72 Billion Dividend Yield 2.84% Rev. per Employee $204,452 02/26/14 Target Earnings Slide 46% Afte… 02/26/14 Verizon Investigating Two More… 02/26/14 Target&#39 s Canadian Foray Weighs… More quote details and news TGT in Your Value Your Change Short position stopped selling cigarettes in 1996, saying they weren’t profitable and were too costly to stock. In 2008, Wegmans Food Markets Inc., a northeast supermarket chain, dropped tobacco products too, as a way to promote healthy lifestyles for consumers.

But CVS, with 7,600 stores across the nation, is the largest company to make such a move and the first national player to do so for explicitly public health reasons.

CVS is launching this spring smoking cessation programs at its pharmacies and in store clinics in effect, trading smokers for those people wanting to quit. About 7 of 10 smokers indicate they want to quit, with about half attempting to stop every year, and opportunities exist, especially with health insurers, for partnerships, Dr. Brennan said.

Write to Timothy W. Martin at and Mike Esterl at

Down to the last cigarette? – nytimes.com

Cigarettes: approximation of rates

This is certainly turning out to be quite the year for 50th anniversaries. Fifty years ago next month, the Beatles made their U.S. debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson started the War on Poverty. And 50 years ago Saturday, the surgeon general of the United States issued the single most important report that would ever come out of that office. It linked cigarette smoking to illness and death.

It s hard to remember now just how prevalent smoking used to be. In the mid 1960s, around half the men in the country smoked for women, the number was 35 percent. People smoked in their offices, smoked in restaurants, smoked on airplanes. Indeed, Paul Billings of the American Lung Association recalls that the airlines often gave passengers small packets of cigarettes when they boarded the plane.

But by the 1950s, scientists were beginning to equate cigarettes with lung cancer and other fatal diseases, a linkage the tobacco industry vehemently denied. In 1962, the prestigious Royal College of Physicians in Britain issued a report connecting smoking and lung cancer. After seeing that report, Dr. Luther Terry, who was then the surgeon general, put together an advisory board and asked it to report back to him on the potential dangers of cigarettes.

Did it ever the advisory board s subsequent report not only linked smoking to lung cancer but also to emphysema and cardiovascular disease. It labeled cigarettes a health hazard. In general, it concluded, the greater the number of cigarettes smoked daily, the higher the death rate.

It was a landmark report, says Scott Ballin, a longtime tobacco control and public health advocate. For the first time, the full weight of the federal government stood behind the notion that smoking killed. Antitobacco groups felt empowered and pressed for changes. In 1965, Congress passed legislation banning cigarette advertising on television while also forcing the tobacco companies to put a surgeon general s warning on every pack of cigarettes. The tobacco companies fought the legislation, while continuing to deny that cigarettes killed.

And so it went for the next 30 years. The surgeon general would issue reports on, say, nicotine addiction or secondhand smoke. The tobacco companies would deny the obvious. And antitobacco activists would push for change.

This culminated with the tobacco wars in the 1990s. With the activists continuing to push hard, and whistle blowers leaking damning documents, attorneys general around the country sued the tobacco companies and wound up settling for a staggering $246 billion over 25 years.

And all the while, as Americans learned more about the dangers of tobacco, cigarette smoking dropped, and dropped again. By 2005, the percentage of Americans who smoked was down to 21 percent, a remarkable achievement. But since then, the percentage drops have been much smaller today, it is estimated that around 18 percent of the country smokes. Seven out of 10 smokers say they want to quit, says Billings at the lung association, but their addiction is too powerful. More than 400,000 Americans still die prematurely each year from smoking.

Today, thanks to a law passed in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration has the power to regulate tobacco. (Its first set of tobacco regulations has been sitting at the Office of Management and Budget since October.) It s a different environment now, not only because of F.D.A. regulation but because there are now harm reduction products, like e cigarettes, that potentially make it easier for people who want to quit.