American retailer WalMart announced this week that it would end the sale of cigarettes in some stores across the country as part of an effort to support smoking cessation movements.
Following other major stores, including Target and CVS, WalMart will begin to phase out cigarette sales in California, Florida, New Mexico and Arkansas, though more states may be added to the list. This comes even as cigarettes and tobacco products remain a major revenue generator for the company.
The company stated that the decision to remove cigarettes from the shelves will come on a store-by-store basis, at least to begin with. Though WalMart is not the first retailer to experiment with ending tobacco product sales in its stores, it is certainly among the largest. The company operates over ten thousand stores across twenty four countries, and employs over 2.3 million associates around the world.
“We are always looking at ways to meet our customers’ needs while still operating an efficient business,” Walmart said in a prepared statement.
In 2019, WalMart first announced its intent to remove itself from the sale of tobacco products, citing “growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity” as its reason. Whether this remains on a trial basis or becomes permanent policy remains to be seen, but corporate responsibility is always a welcome addition to the economy. The development was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.