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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.

Go deeper: CEOs are the new politicians