Walmart announced Friday that it will stop selling electronic cigarettes in its stores, including Sam’s Clubs, following a series of mysterious illnesses and deaths related to vaping.
The largest chain of retailers in the United States, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, has announced it will end the sale of e-cigarettes once its current inventory is sold.
This decision is attributable to the growing complexity of federal, state and local regulations regarding vaping products, the company said in a statement.
President Donald Trump recently proposed a federal ban on electronic cigarette flavorings and vaping products.
Michigan has banned this week the sale of flavoring compounds for electronic cigarettes. In June, San Francisco became the first major US city to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes altogether.
E-cigarettes are a very small part of Walmart’s nicotine trade, which also includes traditional cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and nicotine gum.
But the vaping industry is under increased scrutiny with the increasing number of cases of illness and death – as well as an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes among minors.
According to US public health authorities, more than 500 people have been diagnosed with respiratory diseases after using electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices. An eighth death was reported this week.
But health officials have still not identified the exact cause of these health problems.
In July, Walmart raised the minimum age for the purchase of tobacco products, including all electronic cigarettes, at age 21.
The company also said it was halting the sale of electronic nicotine dispensing systems flavored with fruits and desserts.