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Two leading US retailers have indicated that they will not be selling e-cigarettes amid growing health concerns surrounding vaping.

Retailers stop selling e-cigarettes

On Monday, drugstore chain Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA) and supermarket chain Kroger (NYSE:KR) announced that they would discontinue the sale of e-cigarettes. The two retailers join Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and other retailers who have discontinued the sale of e-cigarettes due to regulatory uncertainty.

Kroger that also owns Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, and Ralphs, among other store brands, said their decision stems from mounting questions as well as uncertainty in the regulatory environment. Walgreens has also indicated that their decision comes as the FDA, CDC, and health officials continue to assess the issue. A Walgreens spokesperson added that their decision reflects the developing regulations across different states and municipalities.

The vaping industry faces public and regulatory scrutiny following a mysterious vaping illness that has caused illness in hundreds of people and claimed lives. The CDC has indicated that at least 18 people have reportedly died, and close to 1080 people are ill across 48 states as a result of using vaping devices. According to the CDC, most of the people who fell ill reportedly vaped THC, which is the active element in cannabis. Of the patients identified, 17% confirmed they had used nicotine.

Growing regulatory scrutiny on e-cigarettes

In recent years e-cigarettes have sprung in popularity, especially among teens. Critics of e-cigarettes indicated that the target population of flavored cigarettes are teens. Companies such as Juul mainly produce flavored e-cigarettes.

The usage of e-cigarettes has reached a level the FDA is calling an epidemic. There is heightened scrutiny, and the Trump administration is preparing a federal ban for vaping devices. Colorado, San Francisco, and Michigan have already banned the flavored e-cigarettes. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has committed $160 million to help in the enactment of similar restrictions across the US.

Retailers have also been taking regulatory action to stop the sale of cigarettes before the enactment of federal regulations. Earlier this year, Walmart indicated that they were planning to increase the minimum age of buying tobacco to 21.