Walmart Raises Tobacco Purchase Age to 21; Discontinues Sale of Fruit and Dessert Nicotine Flavors

A long line of blue registers with Walmart's spark are stocked with empty plastic shopping bags. Two customers walk past the registers pushing their recently purchased items.

May 8, 2019
By John Scudder, U.S. Chief Compliance and Ethics Officer, Walmart Inc.

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about how companies restrict the sales of tobacco to minors. Recently, we received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration about the policies we have in place to prevent the sale of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems to anyone under age. While we have implemented a robust compliance program, we are not satisfied with falling short of our company-wide goal of 100% compliance. Even a single sale to a minor is one too many, and we take seriously our responsibilities in this regard. So today, we sent a letter back to the FDA outlining additional measures we’re taking to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors.

First, as of July 1, 2019, across our entire U.S. business – Walmart and Sam’s Club – we are raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products, including all e-cigarettes, to 21.

Secondly, we are in the process of discontinuing the sale of fruit- and dessert-flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems.

You can read the full letter here, which includes additional actions we are taking to prevent tobacco sales to minors in our stores and clubs.