Citing the uncertainty surrounding the products' future, including possible regulatory actions, Walmart said it will stop selling e-cigarettes. An internal memo said the retailer will sell the stock on hand in its Walmart and Sam's Club stores in the US. Then, CNBC reports the memo says, "We plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club U.S. locations." Health officials are investigating more than 500 cases of a respiratory illness, and the nation's eighth death connected to vaping was announced in Missouri on Thursday. Bans on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes have been approved or are under consideration in several states and nations. Media giants CBS, Viacom, and WarnerMedia have said they won't carry ads for e-cigarettes.
The retailer stopped selling tobacco products to anyone under 21 earlier this year, per CNN, and said it would quit carrying flavored e-cigarettes that sell well to teenagers. The American Vaping Association criticized Walmart on Friday for dropping e-cigarettes but not tobacco. "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," the group said. In an opinion piece at Politico, Rich Lowry says all this anti-vaping sentiment is an over-reaction. (Read more e-cigarettes stories.)