Walmart Raises Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco to 21 - NBC New York
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Walmart Raises Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco to 21

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration put Walmart and 14 other retailers on notice for selling tobacco products to kids

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    Walmart Raises Minimum Age to Buy Tobacco to 21
    Scott Olson/Getty Images, File
    This Jan. 11, 2018, file photo shows shopping carts outside of a Walmart store in Chicago.

    Walmart said Wednesday that it will raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products and e-cigarettes at its U.S. stores to 21 amid growing pressure from regulators to cut tobacco sales and use among minors.

    The world's largest retailer also said it will also stop selling fruit and dessert flavored e-cigarettes, which critics say can hook teenagers on vaping.

    The new rules will take effect in July at all its 5,300 U.S. stores, including its Sam's Club warehouse locations. Previously, Walmart's minimum purchase age was 18, aside from a number of states where the legal age is 21.

    Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration put Walmart and 14 other retailers on notice for selling tobacco products to kids. Another retailer on the list, drugstore operator Walgreens, said last month that it would increase its minimum age for tobacco sales to 21 in September.

    FDA Announces Crackdown on Cigarettes

    [NATL] FDA Announces Crackdown on Cigarettes

    The Food and Drug Administration is making moves against the tobacco industry in an effort to crack down on smoking in teens, saying it is working to ban menthol and mint in all cigarettes, as well as flavored cigars. The agency also announced it will limit the sales of flavored e-cigarettes to youths, both in stores and online.

    (Published Friday, Nov. 16, 2018)

    In a letter to the FDA Wednesday, Walmart said it will conduct its own tests this year to make sure minors can't buy tobacco products at its stores. The company said it will retrain workers that fail its tests.

    "Even a single sale to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard," said John Scudder, Walmart's chief compliance and ethics officer, in a blog post Wednesday.