Walmart has announced it will stop selling e-cigarettes amid a national outbreak of vaping-linked lung disease and a growing number of deaths.
“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 said in a statement sent to HuffPost Friday. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
The retailer did not elaborate further.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the number of vaping-related lung illnesses had climbed to at least 530, which were reported from 38 states and one U.S. territory. All individuals had a history of e-cigarette use, and most of those vapes contained THC, the marijuana ingredient that creates a high.
Federal, state and local health officials are continuing to investigate the cases, as no specific cause has yet been identified, and no particular product has been connected to all of the illnesses.
Earlier this week, a California resident was confirmed dead of a vaping-related illness, becoming the seventh person to die of health complications associated with the popular habit. Deaths have previously been confirmed in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.
The CDC is urging those concerned over the risks to refrain from using e-cigarettes until more is known.