NEW YORK — 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 Walgreen 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.
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, operates more than 9,500 stores in the U.S.
"We have made the decision to stop selling e-cigarette products at our stores nationwide as the CDC, FDA and other health officials continue to examine the issue. This decision is also reflective of developing regulations in a growing number of states and municipalities," the company said.
Massachusetts has temporarily banned the sale of e-cigarettes and other states have announced bans on flavored e-cigarettes.
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About 1,080 cases of lung injuries and 18 deaths related to e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, had been reported across the country as of Oct. 1, according to the CDC. It's unknown exactly what's causing the illnesses, but most patients reported a history of using products containing THC.
A number of other stores have also decided to pull the products from their shelves, including Walmart, Kroger, Costco Wholesale, Rite Aid and Dollar General. Competitor CVS Health has never sold e-cigarettes.
Many public health advocates have cheered stores' decisions to stop carrying e-cigarettes, while vaping advocates blame the illnesses on illicit products and say many people rely on their products to help them quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
The Vapor Technology Association, an industry group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.
Walgreens has been criticized in recent years for continuing to sell traditional cigarettes, though competitor CVS Health stopped selling tobacco products several years ago. Walgreens announced earlier this year that it would no longer sell tobacco products to anyone under age 21 and it has made tobacco products less visible in its stores, but critics have said the changes don't go far enough.
The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.