Sep 20, 2019 - Health

Walmart to discontinue e-cigarette sales amid regulatory uncertainty

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Walmart announced Friday that it will discontinue e-cigarette sales in its stores after a rash of vaping-related deaths, per CNBC.

Why it matters: The world’s largest retailer cited "growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty" around the product and said that it would stop selling e-cigarettes after selling through its current inventory.

The big picture: Walmart's move comes after vaping has faced a wave of scrutiny across the board — from Congress to the White House to local governments. At least 8 people have died from mysterious vaping-related illnesses.

  • President Trump has proposed banning all flavored e-cigarette items.
  • The industry is even facing issues around the world. India has banned e-cigarettes entirely while Juul's products disappeared from online Chinese marketplaces just a week after they debuted.

The state of play: The retailer also has been more actively taking a stance on societal issues, announcing earlier this month that it would end all sales of short-barrel rifle ammunition that can be used with military-style assault weapons.

  • Walmart CEO Doug McMillon is set to chair the Business Roundtable, a group made up of the nation's top CEOs, at the start of next year.
  • 181 BRT CEOs signed onto a statement last month that driving shareholder value is no longer their sole business objective, instead expanding their mission to include everything from taking care of employees to helping their communities.

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