Walmart halts cigarette sales at some stores – CBS Pittsburgh

By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business

(CNN/KDKA) — Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, will stop selling cigarettes in select U.S. stores years of pressure on big chains to shut down tobacco sales.

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Cigarettes are being removed from Walmart in various markets, including some stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico, according to The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. At some of those stores, Walmart has added more self-service checkouts, as well as other items like takeout groceries or candy instead of cigarettes, according to the Journal.

The move is Walmart’s latest change to its tobacco policy.

Walmart, which has around 5,000 stores in the United States, raised the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21 in 2019 and stopped selling e-cigarettes. Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, has also stopped selling cigarettes in most of its stores in recent years.

Walmart didn’t say how many of its stores have eliminated tobacco altogether. A spokesman for Walmart told CNN Business that it made the “business decision” to end tobacco sales in select stores “due to our continued focus on the tobacco category.”

There are approximately 20 Walmart and Walmart Supercenter locations in western Pennsylvania. It is not known if they will make any changes to their tobacco sales.

Public health advocates have long urged retailers to stop selling tobacco products, and some cities and states have also banned the sale of tobacco in pharmacies.

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More than two dozen attorneys general in 2014 letters sent to major retailers with pharmacies, including Walmart, to end tobacco sales.

“It is a contradiction in terms to have these dangerous and devastating tobacco products on the shelves of a retail chain that serves health needs,” the letters read.

In 2014, CVS announced it would stop selling tobacco. At the time, CVS said the move would cost the company an estimated $2 billion in revenue. CVS said selling tobacco was “inconsistent with our purpose” of being a healthcare provider.

Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer said last year that tobacco sales are “under close scrutiny right now. And so you will see more to come in this area.”

Costco sells tobacco in some stores. goal stopped selling tobacco in 1996.

Cigarette sales in the United States rose in 2020 for the first time in two decades.

The North American Quitline Association, a nonprofit that promotes tobacco cessation services, attributed the reversal to “stress and anxiety resulting from the pandemic.”

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The CNN Wire
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