Walgreens and Kroger to stop selling e-cigarettes

The decision comes amid growing concern over vaping.

October 8, 2019, 10:14 AM

Walgreens and Kroger, two of the country's largest retailers, will stop selling e-cigarettes amid growing health and safety concerns.

Walgreens said in a statement Monday, "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."

"Kroger is discontinuing the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products, or e-cigarettes, at all store and fuel center locations due to the mounting questions and increasingly-complex regulatory environment associated with these products," Kroger said in a statement also on Monday. "The company will exit this category after selling through its current inventory."

The decisions follow nationwide concern over e-cigarettes and vaping, with 1,080 confirmed and probable lung injury cases associated with the product as of Oct. 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At least 21 people have died from lung illnesses linked to e-cigarettes, according to the CDC and state agencies.

Though there are few answers as to the exact cause of the illnesses and deaths, officials say many of the people who have become sick reported vaping THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

PHOTO: A man smokes an e-cigarette in this undated file image.
Picture Alliance/dpa via Getty Images

While e-cigarette products have been around since 2007, their popularity has recently skyrocketed.

One of the most prominent e-cigarette products, JUUL, was sued Monday by two public school districts that lambasted the company for getting kids addicted to nicotine and creating a vaping epidemic, according to the lawsuits.

The Francis Howell School District, in St. Charles, Missouri, said "JUUL successfully created a misleading impression that JUUL products were intended for youth and healthy" and that the company "succeeded in addicting a generation of youth to nicotine."

The Olathe Public Schools district in Johnson County, Kansas, claimed "JUUL's tortious and illegal conduct has given rise to an epidemic of vaping across America and within Plaintiff's School District."

JUUL did not immediately respond to ABC News for comment.

In late September, Walmart announced they would no longer sell e-cigarettes. At the time, the CDC had confirmed 530 probable cases of people who have experienced lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vape products.

ABC News' Erin Schumaker contributed to this story.

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