Walmart will stop selling e-cigarettes as backlash spreads

MGN Online

Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows and public officials crack down on the industry.The...

Posted: Sep 20, 2019 1:52 PM
Updated: Sep 20, 2019 9:00 PM

Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows and public officials crack down on the industry.

The decision by America's largest retailer may influence other stores and marks another setback for the vaping industry. Walmart said it's exiting the business because of regulatory flux. CBS, Viacom and CNN parent company WarnerMedia also announced this week they would prohibit e-cigarette advertisements on their networks.

'Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam's Club US locations,' the company said in a statement. 'We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.'

For Walmart, the move is another illustration of the company's willingness to wade into controversial issues. Earlier this month, Walmart announced it would stop selling handgun ammunition and ammunition commonly used in military-style assault weapons, as well as discourage customers from openly carrying guns at stores.

Halting the sale of e-cigarettes is also Walmart's latest major decision in restricting the availability of tobacco.

Earlier this year, Walmart raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. The changes took effect July 1 at all US Walmart and Sam's Club locations. The company said at the time that it would stop selling sweet-flavored e-cigarettes, which have become popular among teenagers.

The vaping industry has experienced rapid growth. Euromonitor International, a research firm, estimated it will be worth $34 billion globally by 2021, up 176% from 2016. Last year, Altria, America's preeminent cigarette company, took a 35% stake in e-cigarette maker Juul, worth $12.8 billion.

Vaping industry in turmoil

Walmart's decision to step away fully from e-cigarettes comes as more states restrict the products.

New York state health officials voted Tuesday to carry out Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive action to ban sales of most flavored e-cigarettes. This ban would stand for 90 days as a piece of emergency legislation. It would need to be renewed to continue. Last week, Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

President Donald Trump said last week that the FDA would be putting out 'some very strong recommendations' regarding the use of flavored e-cigarettes.

The eighth person in the United States died Thursday from lung disease related to vaping, according to Missouri health officials.

There have been 530 confirmed and probable cases of lung injuries related to e-cigarettes as of September 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. That's 150 more than was reported on September 11.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments have been investigating this outbreak.

Still, health officials said they haven't found a definitive cause or a clear connection between cases, and they warned that patients worried about becoming ill from vaping should refrain from using e-cigarettes.

—CNN's Jen Christensen and Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this article.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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