UP IN SMOKE

Walmart to Raise Tobacco Age to 21, Stop Selling Fruit-Flavored E-Cigarettes

Retail titan Walmart announced Wednesday that it will raise the minimum age for tobacco purchases to 21 and stop selling all fruit-flavored e-cigarettes, The Wall Street Journal reports. The announcement, which will go into effect on July 1, comes just a month after the FDA called out Walmart as one of the retailers that sold the most products illegally to minors. The FDA and other public health officials have grown increasingly concerned about the uptick in e-cigarette use among minors in recent months, and have increased pressure on major retailers to drop the flavors that are most appealing to teens.

“While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our companywide goal” of selling zero tobacco products to kids, John Scudder, chief compliance and ethics officer for Walmart U.S., told the Journal. Walmart now joins companies like Rite Aid and Walgreens, which have also raised the minimum tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 in recent months. Meanwhile, bills in the House and Senate are seeking to raise the minimum purchasing age nationwide.