(NEXSTAR) – Some customers will no longer be able to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products from their neighborhood Walmart, the company confirmed Monday. Walmart isn’t the first national retailer to stop selling tobacco products, but it is the largest.
A Walmart spokesperson tells Nexstar: “We are always looking at ways to meet our customers’ needs while still operating an efficient business. As a result of our ongoing focus on the tobacco category, we have made the business decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco in select stores.”
Details about which stores would no longer be selling tobacco products was not immediately available, but the Wall Street Journal, the first to report on the development, notes stores in Arkansas, California, Florida, and New Mexico are included.
Walmart isn’t the first chain to cut off cigarette sales – Target did it in 1996 and CVS Health followed in 2014. Three years ago, Walmart announced it was quitting the vaping industry and would no longer sell electronic cigarettes at both its stores and Sam’s Club locations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2020, nearly 13 of every 100 U.S. adults smoke cigarettes, amounting to roughly 30.8 million adults. That’s an all-time low, the agency announced earlier this month.
The most recent CDC data shows Arkansas has the third-most cigarette-using adults at 22.7%. California, Florida, and New Mexico have among the fewest.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.