Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows. The decision from America’s largest retailer may influence other stores and marks a significant blow to the vaping industry.
“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.”
Earlier this year, Walmart raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21. The changes took effect July 1 at all American 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 eighth person in the United States died Thursday from lung disease related to vaping, according to Missouri health officials.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and state health departments have been investigating this outbreak.
Vaping-related illnesses have been linked to seven previous deaths — two in California and one each in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Oregon. CDC health officials said on Thursday they expect more deaths to be reported.