CVS Lets Go of $1.5B Tobacco Cash Cow - and 6 Other Bold Company Moves

CVS Caremark walks away from $1.5 billion in revenue from tobacco products.

Feb. 5, 2014 — -- intro: CVS Caremark announced that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products by Oct. 1, the first national pharmacy chain to do so, citing smoking's health risks.

The company says it will forgo the more than $1.5 billion in annual revenue from tobacco products that it usually earns.

In a "Viewpoint" article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Caremark's chief medical officer, says "the financial gain is outweighed by the paradox inherent in promoting health while contributing to tobacco-related deaths," a point of view shared by other medical associations.

In 2010, the American Pharmacists Association urged pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products.

Read more about CVS' landmark announcement and six other big moves by companies:

quicklist:title: CVS Caremarkmedia: 22364284category: Says 'No' to Cigarettestext:

CVS Caremark CEO and President Larry Melo said ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products is a step in helping people achieve better health.

"Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose," he said.

Dr. Troyen Brennan, CVS Caremark's chief medical officer, points to a report from the Surgeon General last month that indicates tobacco use has led to direct medical costs that range from $132 billion to $176 billion annually.

Read More: 50 Years After the Surgeon General's Smoking Report

"Making cigarettes available in pharmacies in essence 'renormalizes' the product by sending the subtle message that it cannot be all that unhealthy if it is available for purchase where medicines are sold," Brennan writes in the JAMA article, adding that pharmacies in other developed countries do not sell cigarettes.

"The argument that pharmacies also sell tobacco-cessation products only heightens the paradox," Brennan wrote.

Read More: New Ad Campaign Appeals to Teens' Vanity to Curb Smoking

quicklist:title: JCPenney media: 19093385category: No more couponstext:

Under former CEO Ron Johnson, JCPenney introduced its "Fair and Square" pricing strategy, getting rid of temporary sales and promotions.

Sales floundered and Johnson was fired in April 2013. The company later released an ad campaign apologizing to customers and telling them they were re-thinking their strategy.

Read More: J.C. Penney and 6 Other Noteworthy Company Apologies

quicklist:title: Newsweek category: Bye-bye, printmedia: 17509989text:In 2012, 80-year-old "Newsweek" announced it will no longer offer a print edition of the magazine.

Read More: Magazines May Follow Newsweek's Lead in Shuttering Print Version

However, IBT Media, which bought "Newsweek" in August, announced late December that it will return to print early this year.

quicklist:title: Netflixmedia: 21635626category: Spinning off DVDstext: In the span of one month, media streaming and delivery company Netflix announced then retracted plans to spin off a DVD mailing service, Qwikster.

Read More: Netflix Cancels Plan for DVDs on Qwikster

The company has since recovered from the mass exodus of angry customers and its streaming business is booming after adding original programs.

quicklist:title: Facebook media: 18676449category: News Feedtext: In 2006, the social media company introduced News Feed, which initially irked many users, who were unaccustomed to having their information broadcast on their friends' Facebook homepage. The News Feed re-design, which showed your friends' latest updates, also confused many users. But eventually, most critics became accustomed to stalking friends in the new way. The company celebrated its tenth anniversary on Tuesday with 1.2 billion users around the world.

Read More: 7 Ways Facebook Has Changed Your Life

quicklist:title: Whole Foods category: Phasing Out GMOs in Food text:

In December, Whole Foods Market Inc. announced it would stop selling products from the popular Chobani yogurt brand in early 2014 to make room for brands free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and more organic options.

Read More: Whole Foods Will Stop Selling Chobani in Early 2014

quicklist:title: Coca-Colamedia: 19093195category: New recipetext:

In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company launched the New Coke, which had a different formula for the first time in 99 years.

After receiving 1,500 angry calls a day, the company returned to the original formula after 79 days. The original formula has been called Coca-Cola Classic ever since.

"To hear some tell it, April 23, 1985, was a day that will live in marketing infamy," states an article on Coca-Cola's website. "On that day, The Coca-Cola Company took arguably the biggest risk in consumer goods history, announcing that it was changing the formula for the world's most popular soft drink, and spawning consumer angst the likes of which no business has ever seen."