On Wednesday, the 8th of May, the American multinational retailer, Walmart Inc., said that it would be raising its minimum age to sell tobacco-based products to 21 across US stores, and the policy change would come into effect by July 1st.
World’s third largest employer of retail industry with subsidies including hypermarket chains, grocery shops, online retailing etc., the Bentonville-based, 57-year-old US retailing giant’s latest policy reform came forth amid an intensifying regulatory and political pressure to offset a surge in teenage use of its e-cigarettes.
Besides, according to Walmart Inc.’s Wednesday’s statement, the retailing mogul would likely to discontinue its sale of dessert flavored and fruit flavored electronic cigarettes. However, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration had sent legal notices to 15 national retailers back in March this year including Walmart, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Kroger and Family Dollar Stores, accusing them of allegedly selling tobacco products to minors.
Followed by the FDA attempt to curb nicotine use among US teenagers, in April, Rice Aid and Walgreens had announced that they would be raising the minimum age to sell tobacco products to 21, and Walmart Inc.’s policy reform on tobacco sales had been a latest response to that FDA notice.
Addressing to a zero-tolerance policy of tobacco-products sale to minors, US chief ethics and compliance officer, John Scudder, wrote in a letter to FDA, “While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our companywide goal of 100 percent compliance. Even a single sale to a minor is one too many”