Walmart, the world's largest retailer, will stop selling e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns as more deaths have been linked with vaping.
"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 told store managers in a memo, CNBC reported. "We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory."
The halt in sales comes amid a growing health crisis linked to use of the devices.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that at least 530 cases of lung illness associated with e-cigarette use had been reported across 38 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Health officials continue to investigate the illnesses. Symptoms have included shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the CDC, no specific product or compound has been linked to all of the cases of pulmonary illness. Agency officials have said many who got sick said they vaped THC, but some said they vaped only nicotine. Health officials are advising people not to vape at all until more is known.
Poison control officials have been concerned about exposure to vaping products, including e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, in recent years due to the high concentration of nicotine they contain compared with other tobacco products, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Association officials said that, as of Aug. 31, poison control centers have managed 2,961 cases connected to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine this year. Last year, officials fielded 2,470 such cases, according to figures from the association.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Cox Media Group