Walmart will stop selling e-cigarettes in its Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. amid “regulatory complexity” and “uncertainty” surrounding the industry, the company said in an internal memo to managers.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations,” the company said, according to CNBC. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
The Arkansas-based retailer said it would no longer stock the products after selling through its existing inventory.
While the Trump administration plans a federal ban on flavored e-cigarettes, many states, cities, stores and manufacturers have taken matters into their own hands.
In June, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes. And in September, Michigan became the first state to prohibit sales of most flavored e-cigarettes.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced plans to ban on flavored e-cigarettes, and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced a task force for addressing health concerns surrounding vaping.
CBS, WarnerMedia and Viacom have all said they will stop running e-cigarette advertisements.
Walmart raised the tobacco buying age to 21 earlier this year in response to what regulators are calling an “epidemic” of teen vaping.
The American Vaping Association (AVA) criticized Walmart for continuing to sell cigarettes while pulling e-cigarettes from its shelves.
“You know you are in the middle of a moral panic when big corporations like Walmart find it is easier to sell deadly combustible tobacco products than to sell harm reduction alternatives,” said AVA President Gregory Conley in a statement.