US-based retail corporation Walmart has reportedly decided to stop selling tobacco products in some of its US stores.
The company has not disclosed the exact number of stores that will be impacted by the decision.
The decision was taken following ‘years’ of debate among the company’s leadership regarding the sale of tobacco products, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Despite this, Walmart said that it would not be exiting the category entirely.
The WSJ reported that cigarettes are being removed from Walmart’s stores in California, Arkansas, Florida and New Mexico.
In addition, the retailer is said to have replaced Marlboro, Newport and other tobacco products with self-checkout registers and other items, such as grab-and-go food or confectionery near the front of the stores.
In a statement, Walmart said: “We are always looking at ways to meet our customers’ needs while still operating an efficient business.
“As a result of our ongoing focus on the tobacco category, we have made the business decision to discontinue the sale of tobacco in select stores.”
Several US Senators from the Democratic Party have called on Walmart and other retailers to end sales of tobacco products in their stores.
Target stopped selling cigarettes in 1996, while pharmacy chain CVS Health has not sold them since 2014.
Walmart previously ended sales of electronic cigarettes at its stores and at Sam’s Clubs in 2019.
Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the company operates more than 5,000 stores across the US.
Earlier this month, Walmart and its Sam’s Club subsidiary filed a lawsuit against BJ’s Wholesale Club over an alleged patent infringement.
Sam’s Club claimed that the ExpressPay self-checkout feature that BJ’s Wholesale Club added to its mobile app is ‘strikingly similar’ to Sam’s Club’s Scan & Go feature.
The lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in Florida.