Walmart To Halt E-Cigarette Sales

By David Konow 09/25/19

The American Vaping Association has criticized Walmart for punishing e-cigarette companies but continuing to sell regular cigarettes.

Image: 
young, vaping man blows big cloud
Companies don’t want to wait for an FDA crackdown © Hazem Mohamad | Dreamstime.com

With so much focus on the dangers of vaping in the news, one of the largest retailers in the world is announcing they’re going to phase out e-cigarettes.

As Yahoo reports, Walmart has circulated an internal company memo which reads: “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.” 

Retailers React To Pressure

The memo also stated that once the current inventory of e-cigarettes has sold, Walmart will “complete our exit” from selling them. 

In the wake of nine deaths that have been linked to vaping, the FDA is launching a criminal investigation and lawmakers have implored the current administration to get rid of e-cigarettes altogether. 

Back in May, Walmart voluntarily raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. 

As CNBC reports, a number of companies don’t want to wait for an FDA crackdown on e-cigarettes, and have been instituting their own bans on them. (CBS, WarnerMedia and Viacom have all decided to stop airing e-cigarette ads as well.)

At the same time, the American Vaping Association has criticized Walmart for punishing e-cigarette companies but continuing to sell regular cigarettes. In a statement, the association’s president, Gregory Conley, said, “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.”

Prior to Walmart's big move, the Trump administration announced it was moving ahead on banning flavored e-cigarette products. So far, Michigan and New York have banned flavored e-cigarettes just this month. San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the sale of e-cigarettes this past June.

As Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement, “The Trump administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities." 

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.