Kroger, Walgreens to stop selling e-cigarettes in US

Posted at 7:41 AM, Oct 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-08 20:38:10-04

NEW YORK (AP) - Two major retailers say they will no longer sell e-cigarettes in the U.S. amid mounting health questions surrounding vaping.

Supermarket chain Kroger and drugstore chain Walgreens announced Monday they would discontinue sales of e-cigarettes at their stores nationwide, citing an uncertain regulatory environment.

The vaping industry has come under scrutiny after hundreds of people have fallen ill and at least eight have died after using vaping devices.

"It's all about the bad publicity. If it didn't get the publicity of these people smoking aftermarket THC vapes that are actually hurting them, then I think Walgreens wouldn't have made a stand at all," said e-cigarette user Brett Smith.

Some e-cigarette users believe the soon-to be-ban will just increase the amount of people who use a vaping device.

"Whenever you create a restriction, you inherently create people that will not follow the restriction, so limiting it, I don't think will help or hinder it," explained former user Drake Delcambre. "If anything, it will help it."

Experts say the long-term effects of vaping devices are unknown. An e-cigarette contains the addictive substance nicotine but far fewer of the toxins that regular cigarettes have.

"Some people believe that e-cigarettes are a healthy, safer alternative compared to tobacco, let's say cigarettes or dip, smokeless tobacco, to be more specific," said student Brayden Guidry. "I believe we really don't know the consequences or the effects of e-cigarettes compared to tobacco."

Some people agree more research needs to be done, so they can better understand the effects of e-cigarettes.

"I think it shouldn't be regulated to the point where a jail cell is around vapes, but I also think it shouldn't be so unregulated to where anybody could them, any child could get them."

Walmart announced last month that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores nationwide.

Kroger said it would stop selling e-cigarettes as soon at its current inventory runs out at its more than 2,700 stores and 1,500 fuel centers. The Cincinnati-based company operates the Ralphs, Harris Teeter and other stores.

Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Illinois, operates more than 9,500 stores in the U.S.