Kroger, Walgreens to stop selling e-cigarettes, amid backlash and regulatory uncertainty

Business

A customer walking in a Kroger supermarket.

Al Behrman | AP

Kroger is joining Walmart and other retailers in discontinuing its sale of electronic cigarettes, a spokeswoman for the company told CNBC on Monday.

The grocer, which also owns Harris Teeter, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, and other store brands, said it is discontinuing the sale of the product due “to the mounting questions and increasingly-complex regulatory environment.”

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed it will continue to sell tobacco products in its stores.

E-cigarettes, which had grown in popularity with teens, have come under regulatory and public scrutiny as a mysterious, deadly vaping illness continues to claim lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified at least 18 confirmed deaths and 1,080 probable cases across 48 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands as of last Tuesday. Most patients identified vaped THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, according to the CDC. Seventeen percent said they exclusively used nicotine.

Walmart said in September it will stop selling e-cigarettes in its Walmart and Sam’s Clubs location, citing “regulatory complexity.” Rite Aid in April said it would stop selling e-cigarettes in all stores.

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