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Walmart is ending cigarette sales in some California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico stores

Walmart ends sales of cigarettes in some stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico after years of discussion within the company’s leading ranks – potentially allowing the store to install more self-checkout counters

  • Walmart removes cigarettes from stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico
  • Walmart, with more than 4,700 locations nationwide, is replacing cigarette displays with self-checkout and takeout
  • Move comes after years of debate between CEO David McMillon and other top managers
  • In 2019, Walmart pulled the plug on e-cigarette sales due to increasing regulatory complexity

Walmart will stop selling cigarettes in some of its stores after years of debate within the retail giant’s management team over the sale of tobacco products, it was announced Monday.

The markets where cigarettes are withdrawn from stores include California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the case and store visits.

The retailer has rolled out a design that includes more self-checkout registers and other items such as grab-and-go food or candy in the front of the stores instead of Marlboro, Newport and other tobacco products, according to the report.

Walmart is removing cigarettes from stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico.  Pictured: An employee scans items for a customer at a Walmart in Burbank, California

Walmart is removing cigarettes from stores in California, Florida, Arkansas and New Mexico. Pictured: An employee scans items for a customer at a Walmart in Burbank, California

Altria Group, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, saw its shares fall 1.6 percent in pre-market trading Monday

Altria Group, maker of Marlboro cigarettes, saw its shares fall 1.6 percent in pre-market trading Monday

Altria Group, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, saw its stock fall 1.6 percent in pre-market trading after the release of the Journal’s story.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request from DailyMail.com for comment.

CVS became the first U.S. drugstore chain to take cigarettes off its shelves in 2014, resulting in a huge loss of revenue totaling $2 billion, while Walmart decided in 2019 to pull the plug on sales of e-cigarettes and electronic nicotine delivery products in its 4,700. US stores due to increasing regulatory complexity and uncertainty.

Several Democratic senators have urged Walmart and other retailers to stop selling all tobacco products.

Cigarette smoking causes 480,000 deaths every year, also from secondhand smoke

Cigarette smoking causes 480,000 deaths every year, also from secondhand smoke

The move comes after Walmart CEO David McMillon spent years trying to convince other top executives to find a way to remove cigarettes from the company’s stores, the Journal reported.

Walmart CEO David McMillon spent years trying to convince other top executives to remove cigarettes from the company's stores

Walmart CEO David McMillon spent years trying to convince other top executives to remove cigarettes from the company’s stores

One of the largest pharmacy chains in the country, Walmart has opened primary care clinics in recent years, and in 2021 the retail giant bought a telehealth provider.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking causes about one in five deaths in the United States each year, resulting in an estimated 480,000 deaths, including from secondhand smoke.

The paper reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, that some Walmart executives have claimed that tobacco products are legal and that if customers want to buy them, the company must meet their requirements.

Walmart, with more than 4,700 locations nationwide, is replacing cigarette displays with self-checkout and takeout

Walmart, with more than 4,700 locations nationwide, is replacing cigarette displays with self-checkout and takeout

According to data from Euromonitor International, a London-based market research firm, about $95 billion worth of cigarettes were sold in the US last year, mainly at gas stations and convenience stores. Walmart and other mixed retailers accounted for 14 percent of US cigarette sales.

At Walmart, selling tobacco products is less profitable than other retail items because cigarettes are kept in a locked case, or out of reach of customers, and they must be handed over by employees who are over a certain age and trained in tobacco sales.

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