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article imageOp-Ed: Walmart and Sam's Club halt e-cigarette sales over vaping deaths

By Karen Graham     Sep 20, 2019 in Business
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, announced Friday that it will discontinue e-cigarette sales in its stores after a rash of vaping-related deaths and illnesses.
"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,” the company said in a statement provided to Digital Trends. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
Health officials are investigating more than 500 cases of a respiratory illness associated with vaping products, and the nation's eighth death connected to vaping was announced in Missouri on Thursday.
In looking at the bigger picture, there has been increased scrutiny from Congress to the White House to local governments, including President Trump's proposal that all flavored e-cigarette items be banned in the U.S.
The e-cigarette industry is now facing global problems because of the vaping illnesses. Just this week, an Ontario, Canada teenager was hospitalized after becoming ill from vaping and India has banned e-cigarettes entirely. Juul e-cigarettes has disappeared from online marketplaces in China, just one week after they debuted.
In the U.S., a number of municipalities and states have moved to ban vaping products. San Francisco has banned the sale of e-cigarettes altogether, while Michigan and New York, have banned flavored vaping products. Other states have also been considering vaping bans. However, if there is a national ban, it would be a moot point.
The fear of a national ban is very real, and not only will the e-cigarette industry take a hit but the vaping community won't be too happy if they lose their favorite vaping flavors.
“For lack of better terms and the most polite way to say it, we’re screwed,” Jai Gyorfi, who runs a vape shop in New Jersey and a popular vaping YouTube channel, told Digital Trends in response to Trump’s proposed ban. “This is bad.”
To give both sides their soap-box, the American Vaping Association criticized Walmart on Friday for dropping e-cigarettes but not tobacco products. "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,
Bottom line? I happened across an interesting tweet in response to Walmart's banning e-cigarettes, and yes, Walmart has done away with "open carry" of handguns in their stores as well as stopping the sale of certain kinds of ammunition. But I digress. Read this tweet from Adam Beck. I don't need to say anything further.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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