Walgreens just says no to e-cigarettes

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Walgreens just says no to e-cigarettes

By Dan Berthiaume - 10/08/2019

Yet another national retailer is discontinuing e-cigarette sales.

In a short online statement dated Oct. 7, Walgreens announced it is exiting the e-cigarette marketplace.

“We have made the decision to stop selling e-cigarette products at our stores nationwide as the CDC, FDA and other health officials continue to examine the issue,” says the statement. “This decision is also reflective of developing regulations in a growing number of states and municipalities.”

Walgreens announced its intention to stop serving the needs of vapers the same day grocery chain Kroger said it would cease sales of e-cigarettes across its banners in a similar brief online statement. While Kroger plans to sell through its current inventory of e-cigarette products, Walgreens did not specify whether it will end sales immediately or sell existing stock.

Walmart discontinued e-cigarette sales in September 2019. Rite Aid said it would stop selling e-cigarettes and vaping products in April 2019. The e-cigarette industry finds itself under increasing scrutiny amid skyrocketing use of vaping by teens and reports of vaping-related respiratory illness and even deaths.

As of Oct. 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 1,080 lung injury cases associated with using e-cigarette or vaping products have been reported, with 18 deaths confirmed in 15 states. Many, but not all, of the illnesses have been linked to vaping mixtures with THC, the high-inducing substance in cannabis.

The state of Massachusetts enacted a four-month ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and vaping products on Sept. 24. A number of vape shops and companies filed for a temporary restraining order soon afterward. A federal judge has initially upheld the ban, but will hold a hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction to lift the ban on Oct. 15.