Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes amid national outbreak of vaping illnesses

Walmart announced Friday it will phase out sales of electronic cigarettes in all stores, including Sam’s Club stores.

The retail giant detailed the plan in an internal memo, which reads in part, “Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products.”

The memo, which Walmart confirmed to NBC News, states that stores will stop selling e-cigarettes after they run out of the existing inventory.

This past summer, Walmart announced it would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. It will continue to sell tobacco cigarettes.

One of the nation’s biggest pharmacy chains, Rite Aid, halted sales of e-cigarettes earlier this year, but it too continues to sell traditional tobacco cigarettes.

CVS made headlines five years ago when it stopped all sales of all tobacco products, including regular and electronic cigarettes.

Anti-tobacco groups urged Walmart to follow CVS’s lead.

“Walmart has taken a responsible step given the worsening youth e-cigarette epidemic and the growing number of severe lung disease cases associated with e-cigarette use,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement.

“We urge them to make this policy permanent and to go further by ending sales of all tobacco products, including cigarettes,” Myers said.