Kroger and Walgreens have become the latest retailers to discontinue the sale of e-cigarettes, following in the footsteps of Walmart and Rite Aid. Walgreens made the decision “as the CDC, FDA and other health officials continue to examine the issue,” while Kroger noted the “the mounting questions and increasingly-complex regulatory environment,” according to spokespeople from each retailer.
The FDA has called e-cigarette usage levels an “epidemic,” and Michigan, New York State, San Francisco, and Boulder, Colo., already have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. The Trump administration also has proposed banning flavored e-cigarettes on the federal level.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 18 confirmed deaths and 1,080 cases across 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands caused by vaping-related illness as of Oct. 1. Most of the patients vaped THC, though 17% said they exclusively use nicotine.
The retailers’ bans on e-cigarette sales are taking place amid a general crackdown on tobacco sales. Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid all have raised the minimum age for tobacco products to 21, while CVS ended the sale of tobacco products altogether back in 2014.