NEW YORK, New York — NBC News reported that the retail giant Walmart, along with its subsidiary Sam’s Club, will gradually phase out sales of e-cigarette products. The company cited complex federal, state, and local regulations in addition to the indeterminate future of e-cigarette sales as the company’s motive for stopping sales. Walmart said it will offer its current inventory for sale but will not reorder any additional products once the company’s existing inventory has been sold or has expired. Walmart instituted its self-imposed ban on e-cigarette products as the health crisis caused by vaping products continues to spread across the nation. Notwithstanding its stance on vaping products, Walmart and Sam’s Club continues to offer combustible cigarettes for sale in all of its stores.
Despite Walmart’s stance on vaping products, critics of Walmart say that their anti-vaping policy does not go far enough. Critics cry for Walmart to pull traditional cigarettes and tobacco products off of the shelves because of the well-known health risks associated with using tobacco. Critics want Walmart to position themselves like pharmacy and convenience store retailer CVS did approximately five years ago when CVS stopped selling tobacco and vaping products. Another pharmacy and convenience store retailer, Rite-Aid, also sells tobacco products despite banning sales of e-cigarette products in its stores.
The health epidemic associated with vaping continues to flummox public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proclaimed that 530 people devolved a mysterious lung disease after consuming vaping products. The illnesses cover 38 states and have reached the U.S. Virgin Islands as well. The health crisis confounds public health officials because they have not been able to determine a cause or causes for the illnesses that have led to eight deaths in addition to the 530 people who fell ill.
President Trump expressed an interest in banning flavored vaping products on a federal level. On a local level, the city of San Francisco banned e-cigarettes, as did the states of Michigan and New York.
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