Walmart will end cigarette sales at select U.S. store locations, the company said Monday.
The retailer, which has approximately 4,700 total stores in the country, did not disclose how many locations would be impacted. However, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico would be among those included.
"As a result of our ongoing focus on the tobacco category, we have made the business decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco in select stores," a Walmart spokesperson told FOX Business.
The company emphasized that it is not halting all tobacco sales and that the number of impacted locations is relatively small.
The move comes after Walmart banned cigarette sales to any customers under the age of 21 in 2019. Walmart banned sales of e-cigarettes at all of its stores and Sam's Club locations that same year, citing growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty.
Other retailers like Target halted all tobacco sales in 1996, while CVS Health said it would halt all sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products in 2014. CVS said the move would result in about $2 billion in annual revenue losses from tobacco shoppers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This equates to about one-in-five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. The CDC estimates that 5.6 million Americans under the age of 18 could die prematurely from a smoking-related illness if smoking continues at current rates among U.S. youth.
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