Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) — CVS Caremark Corp. halted sales of tobacco products almost a month ahead of schedule, started a smoking-cessation campaign, and changed its name to position itself as an advocate of better health.

CVS Health, as the company will now be called, said in February that it planned to end tobacco sales by Oct. 1 and become the first national pharmacy chain to do so. The stop-smoking program will combine resources from the company's drugstores, clinics and pharmacy-benefits business to give people the information and tools needed to kick the habit.

The biggest U.S. seller of prescription drugs is redefining itself as a health care provider and its initiative on tobacco was designed to help reduce the almost half a million deaths attributed to smoking each year in the U.S. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island-based company operates 7,700 drugstores, 900 walk-in medical clinics, and a pharmacy-benefits manager with almost 65 million members.

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