Walmart has issued a statement that it will stop selling electronic cigarettes at its stores in the United States and at Sam’s Clubs. “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,” Walmart said in a statement on Sept. 20, 2019,
This announcement comes in response to reports of an 8th vaping-related death and news that the number of serious e-cigarette illnesses had reached at least 530, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
“We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
Did Walmart say it will continue selling e-cigarettes until its current inventory is exhausted, which could last until January?
Perish the thought that they might lose a bit of money by tossing out potentially deadly e-cigarettes as a precaution.
Although not much money is scheduled to be lost as a Walmart spokesman said they will continue to sell traditional cigarettes.
The world’s largest company by revenue, with US$514.405 billion, according to Fortune Global 500 list in 2019, has said they are ridding their shelves of vaping products due to “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity” and uncertainly.
No mention was made of the 8 deaths and hundreds of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping or e-cigarettes.
The mere size, volume and scope of Walmart, the largest private employer in the world with 2.2 million employees and second largest retailer in the world after Amazon, surely represents a significant setback for the e-cigarette industry.
Who will be the most affected?
Most likely the largest e-cigarette producers on the market, Juul Labs. The vaping powerhouse also came under scrutiny in early September when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned the company against making unauthorized claims that its product are “much safer than cigarettes” and that its approval from the FDA was imminent.
What further irked the FDA about Juul’s exaggerated claims was the fact that “these statements were made directly to children in school,” the FDA said in its letter to Juul Labs.
Although Juul denies marketing to teens, a study done by Stanford University, JUUL Advertising Over its First Three Years on the Market, reveals a much different story:
“JUUL’s advertising imagery in its first 6 months on the market was patently youth oriented. For the next 2 ½ years it was more muted, but the company’s advertising was widely distributed on social media channels frequented by youth, was amplified by hashtag extensions, and catalyzed by compensated influencers and affiliates.”
Meanwhile, the FDA announced on Sept. 19, 2019 that it had launched a criminal probe into the e-cigarette situation, with a focus on the supply chain.