Walmart To Stop Selling E-Cigarettes As Death Toll Rises
Walmart has announced it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of vaping-related deaths and illness continues to rise.
The long-term effects of e-cigarette use are still unknown, and while some users have argued vaping is better than smoking there are increasing concerns about the impacts the devices are having.
So far eight deaths have been linked to the use of e-cigarettes, while over 500 other users have developed vaping-related lung illness, CBS News reports.
Walmart, the largest retailer in the US, cited growing concerns when announcing their decision to stop selling the products.
In a statement, the company said:
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.
Walmart will officially exit the market after selling its remaining inventory of e-cigarettes.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, responded to Walmart’s announcement on Twitter.
Walmart has taken a responsible step given the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and the growing number of severe lung disease cases associated with e-cigarette use.
We urge them to make this policy permanent and to go further by ending sales of all tobacco products, including cigarettes.
While many consider Walmart’s move a positive one, others have criticised the company for the fact they still sell regular cigarettes.
Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, said:
You know you are in the middle of a moral panic when big corporations like Walmart find it easier to sell deadly combustible tobacco products than to sell harm-reduction alternatives.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what is causing the vaping-related illnesses, which are mainly affecting young people. The US Centers for Disease Control said all of the cases involve patients with a history of vaping or e-cigarette product use, BBC News reports.
Most patients reported using THC, the principal psychoactive constituent in marijuana, while some have used both nicotine and THC and others say they only vaped nicotine. Health officials have not identified one brand or substance as the cause.
Walmart’s news comes after New York State announced a ban on flavoured e-cigarettes earlier this week in a bid to stop young people becoming addicted to nicotine and developing health issues. The Trump administration has said it will ban most flavoured e-cigarettes for the same reasons.
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