Walmart to raise minimum age to buy tobacco products in US

Walmart will be raising the minimum age to buy tobacco to 21 years in the US

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American multinational retail corporation Walmart will soon increase the minimum age to buy tobacco products. The new decision will help in the fight against teen nicotine addiction. The announcement was made on May 8, 2019 which said that it will stop selling tobacco or e-cigarettes products to anyone who is under the age of 21 in the United States.

The new change will be levied from July 1, 2019 at all the American Walmart and Sam’s Club locations. The company will no more sell the sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes that have become popular among the teenagers. The new policy shift has come after Walmart received a letter from the US Food and Drug Administration for not fully prohibiting kids under 18 from buying tobacco products from its stores.

The FDA had conducted about 13,000 compliance checks since 2010 and said that Walmart had passed only 93 percent of them. The company wrote, “While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our company-wide goal of 100% compliance. Even a single sale to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard.” In March, the FDA had warned many of the retailers including Walmart, Walgreens and Kroger that they were violating the rules against selling tobacco products to minors.

The agency has also expressed concerns that the use of e-cigarettes by young people is epidemic. In a response, Walgreen assured that it will no longer sell tobacco products to anyone who is under the age of 21 years starting from September 1, 2019. The FDA has insisted that e-cigarettes and tobacco products must not be sold to people under the age of 18 years or older. Many of the states have raised the age for the legal sales to 21 including Washington, Illinois, Washington, Hawai and California. The surgeon general says that one in five high school students use e-cigarettes.

Photo Credits: The New York Times