In May, Walmart announced a ban on fruit-flavored e-cigarettes and sales to anyone under 21 years of age. Today, the company announced an end to all e-cigarette sales. The decision comes ahead of possible regulatory plans to ban the sale of flavored products in an effort to curb vaping among young people.
News of eight deaths and hundreds of others with pulmonary diseases has shed light on the potential dangers of vaping. A Walmart spokesperson explained the decision:
“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 follows Rite Aid and Dollar General in banning e-cigarette sales. Target never sold them and stopped selling cigarettes in 1996.
After Walmart announced that it would discourage customers from openly carrying guns in its stores, Kroger, CVS, and Wegmans took similar action. That decision came after 22 were shot in an El Paso store.
Does this news surprise you? Why or why not?
In addition to obviously losing vaping revenue, what’s at stake for Walmart after this decision?
Some criticize the decision because Walmart still sells regular cigarettes.
We may be seeing a trend with companies leading the way in social responsibility. What’s your view?