The announcement, which Kroger made on Monday, came just weeks after Walmart made a similar announcement, citing regulatory uncertainty. CBS, Viacom and CNN parent company WarnerMedia also announced in September they would prohibit e-cigarette advertisements on their networks.
"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," the supermarket chain said in a statement. "The company will exit this category after selling through its current inventory."
The vaping industry has been in turmoil following the illnesses and deaths tied to e-cigarettes, as well as the ensuing threat of federal and state regulation. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an executive action to ban the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in the state on September 15. The previous week, Michigan became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
There have been 1,080 lung injury cases related to e-cigarettes as of October 1, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eighteen deaths have been confirmed in 15 states, the agency said.
The CDC also said a definitive cause for or connection between all the cases has not been identified.
This is the second time in as many months that Kroger has gotten involved in a high-profile issue. In early September the company asked customers to refrain from carrying firearms into its stores, even in states where open carry is legal.
Copyright 2024 by Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.