SEATTLE — A fifth vaping-related illness was just reported in Washington state. Meanwhile, the nation’s largest retailer, Walmart announced it’s stopping sales of e-cigarettes.
Walmart says it will finish its current inventory of vaping products and then stop selling e-cigarettes.
In a company statement, Walmart said it will quit selling e-cigarettes because of a “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity” regarding vaping products.
According to the Center for Disease Control, eight people nationwide have died because of vaping. Hundreds of lung disease illnesses have been reported. The cause is still unclear.
“It’s a good thing Walmart is taking it out. They don’t know what causing these sicknesses and illnesses and until they do, and figure it out, I think it’s the best thing to take it off so the young people won’t keep buying and getting sick,” said Anthony Edwards of Renton.
“I know a lot of kids at my school that vape, but I don’t personally do it myself,” said A.J. Davis, a 17-year-old student.
Davis says more students have chosen to vape, even at school.
“Last year, we had a fire alarm go off because someone was vaping in the bathroom,” Davis said.
While some people argue that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, mother Avalon Davis says too many young adults have picked up vaping not knowing the dangers.
“I’m glad Walmart is actually stepping up. I think more corporations need to do that. I think it really good that they’re doing this,” said Davis.
“I think a lot of people might follow suit because Walmart has a little bit of weight,” said Jamil Chavez of Renton.
Meanwhile, the Vaping Technology Association criticizes Walmart’s move. The trade group released this statement on Twitter saying:
“The fact that Walmart is reducing access for adult smokers to regulated vapor products while continuing to sell combustible cigarettes is irresponsible. This will drive former adult smokers to purchase more cigarettes.”
Martha Rodney doesn’t believe that.
“They’re going to find some other place that sells e-cigarettes. I don’t think believe there going to go back to tobacco. I just don’t believe that,” said Rodney.
In May, Walmart raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 in all of its stores. It also said it would stop selling fruit flavored e-cigarettes. That move comes after the FDA called out the company for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.