Sep 20, 2019

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

Go deeper

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 5,428,605 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,179,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.