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Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes

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Retailer cites 'regulatory complexity and uncertainty'

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart will stop selling e-cigarettes and other vaping products, the company said Friday. The move comes in the wake of reports that more than 500 people in the United States have contracted a lung disease that is believed to be linked to vaping. Eight people have died from the condition.

Concerns about the disease have added to worries about e-cigarettes, which are being used by growing numbers of young people. Health officials in New York State recently approved a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, which are seen as primarily appealing to young people. Michigan took similar action earlier this month. The Trump administration is also urging a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes.

Walmart cited the changing regulatory environment in its announcement.

“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 U.S. locations,,” the company said in a statement. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”

Some advocates for e-cigarettes contend that the devices remain safer that tobacco products.

“You know you are in the middle of a moral panic when big corporations like Walmart find it is easier to sell deadly combustible tobacco products than to sell harm reduction alternatives,” American Vaping Association president Gregory Conley said in a statement.

Walmart in July increased the minimum age for tobacco purchases in its stores to 21.

 


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