Walmart raises age to buy tobacco products to 21

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — You now have to be 21 years old in order to buy tobacco products at Walmart stores.

The retail giant raised the minimum age, effective July 1. Walmart originally made the announcement back in May.

The policy affects Walmart and Sam’s Club locations. It covers all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. The retailer also plans to discontinue the sale of fruit- and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems.

The changes are in response to a letter Walmart received from the FDA, which determined that Walmart stores passed 94% of 2,400 compliance checks involving minors in 2018, while Sam’s Club locations passed 100% of their 15 checks. According to CNN, the FDA had warned Walmart and other retailers, including Kroger and Walgreens, about illegal tobacco sales to minors.

The company said it was “not satisfied” in falling short of its goal of 100% compliance across the entire company.

“We unequivocally acknowledge that even a single sale of a tobacco product to a minor is one too many,” the company wrote in its response to the FDA, “and we take seriously our responsibilities in that regard.”

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