Walmart and Sam's Club to raise purchase age of tobacco products to 21 - Northland Vapor Company

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Walmart and Sam's Club to raise purchase age of tobacco products to 21

May 13, 2019

Walmart and Sam's Club to raise purchase age of tobacco products to 21

and will no longer sell the fruit flavored vaping systems or eLiquids entirely.  The new age requirement will kick in on July 1 Walmart said last Wednesday, and will apply to the sale of vapes.  Walmart stated that it plans to phase out those products.

In a letter addressed to the Food and Drug Administration, John Scudder, who is Walmart's US chief ethics and compliance officer wrote; "We unequivocally acknowledge that even a single sale of a tobacco product to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard.'' 

As we know back in March, the FDA accused 15 national retailers, including Walmart and several large gas station retail chains, of selling tobacco products to buyers who were underage.  The agency said then that it was considering enforcement actions "to address high rates of violations" on retailers after more than 1 million undercover checks this decade were reported to have found high rates of sales to minors.

Walmart was among the chains to have tobacco sales violation rates of between 15 percent and 24 percent, according to the FDA's undercover underage purchasing investigations.  Federal regulators are concerned about the rise of nicotine vaping among teenagers, citing incorrectly but loudly that the habit can lead to cigarette smoking, continuing the sheer nonsense we've been seeing them roll out over the past few years. 

More recently Walmart received a letter from the FDA's then commissioner Scott Gottlieb on April 5th, but the retailer challenged the violation rates that Gottlieb cited.  Walmart passed 94 percent of over 2,400 checks by the FDA in 2018, according to Scudder, while Sam's Club passed each of its 15 checks. Those numbers were "significantly higher than the rates referenced in Dr. Gottlieb's April 5th letter and in our view more fairly and accurately portray our performance,'' Scudder wrote.

Walmart says that it already requires staffers who sell tobacco products to undergo age compliant training. Starting last month the company began subjecting employees who fail checks by secret shoppers to disciplinary action, which can include being fired. Such actions were previously taken only when an employee failed FDA checks.

Curious the moral posturing on this one, as Walmart's grocery retail has a large selection of tobacco products and is usually used by most people as a quick stop for their tobacco needs. What do you think about Walmart and Sam's Club making this change?  Are they right to do this? Should they have waited for government regulation or are the being proactive? 

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