Walmart Inc. has raised the age for customers to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes to 21 years old and will stop selling some flavors of electronic nicotine products.
Beginning July 1, anyone purchasing tobacco products at Walmart or Sam’s Club stores must be 21 years old.
“There’s been a lot of discussion lately about how companies restrict the sales of tobacco to minors. Recently, we received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration about the policies we have in place to prevent the sale of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems to anyone under age,” said U.S. Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer for Walmart John Scudder. “While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our company-wide goal of 100 percent compliance. Even a single sale to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard. So today, we sent a letter back to the FDA outlining additional measures we’re taking to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors.”
“First, as of July 1, 2019, across our entire U.S. business—Walmart and Sam’s Club—we are raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including all e-cigarettes, to 21,” Scudder said. “Secondly, we are in the process of discontinuing the sale of fruit- and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems.”
In the letter sent to the FDA, Scudder related that in 2018 Walmart passed 94 percent of FDA tobacco compliance checks and Sam’s Club stores passed 100 percent of checks. The letter also states Walmart plans to use virtual reality technology for age verification of tobacco purchases and enhancing its data and analytics systems.
“Our sincere intent and hope are that the changes outlined in this letter will have a substantial public health impact by helping to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors, ” Scudder wrote.