The move comes as pressure mounts to raise the age to 21 nationwide
Walmart plans to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 starting July 1, joining a growing list of retailers under pressure from federal regulators to curb sales to minors and boosting their age restrictions as a result.
Walmart told the Food and Drug Administration in a letter Wednesday that it’s going to stop selling fruit and dessert-flavored e-cigarettes altogether as part of a plan to prevent minors from buying tobacco.
The FDA in April threatened to fine Walmart, Kroger, Family Dollarand more than a half dozen convenience store chains for illegally selling tobacco products to minors. Walmart had a violation rate of about 17%, the FDA said at the time.
Walmart said it’s taking a number of corrective actions, including strengthening penalties for stores that fail secret shopper checks, enhancing its data, analytics and systems as well as upgrading its age-verification training by using virtual reality technology.
“We unequivocally acknowledge that even a single sale of tobacco product to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard,” John Scudder, Walmart’s U.S. chief ethics and compliance officer, wrote in the letter Wednesday.
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