Walmart Inc. announced that it will raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 at its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, effective July 1.
The company also said it is “in the process of discontinuing the sale of fruit- and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems.”
“While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our company-wide goal of 100% compliance,” said John Scudder, U.S. Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer for Walmart Inc., in a statement. “Even a single sale to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard.”
On April 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on behalf of then-commissioner Scott Gottlieb, issued a letter to Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon, stating the company had a a 17% rate of “violative inspections,” meaning a high rate of illegally selling tobacco to minors.
“This violative history is disturbing and cannot possibly come as a surprise to corporate leadership,” said Gottlieb.
The FDA requested that, within 30 days Walmart provide a written response that includes a detailed plan “to address and mitigate illegal sales to minors.”
Scudder’s statement included a link to the full response to the FDA, as requested.
Walgreens also recently announced a similar Tobacco 21 plan in response to FDA allegations, effective September 1.