Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes amid national outbreak of vaping illnesses

The retail giant cites "regulatory uncertainty" regarding e-cigarettes.

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/ Source: NBC News
By Erika Edwards

Walmart announced Friday it will phase out sales of electronic cigarettes in all stores, including Sam's Club stores.

The retail giant detailed the plan in an internal memo, which reads in part, "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."

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The memo stated stores will sell e-cigarettes already in stock.

The announcement comes amid a growing national epidemic of severe respiratory illnesses linked to vaping. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there are 530 confirmed or probable cases in 38 states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Eight people have died from the illness.

Investigators have been unable to link the cases to any single product or ingredient.

The Trump administration announced plans to ban flavored e-cigarettes a week ago, but it's unclear how or when that ban would take effect.

Health officials in San Francisco, Michigan and New York have already enacted such bans.

This past summer, Walmart announced it would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. They will continue to sell tobacco cigarettes.