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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.

Go deeper: CEOs are the new politicians

Go deeper

Scoop: Biden weighs retired general Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star general Lloyd Austin as his nominee for Defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
1 hour ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.