Walmart Will Stop Selling This Long-Debated Product In Some Locations

Fast facts about smoking: The habit is on the decline and has been for some time, but the CDC estimates that 13 out of every 100 adults smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, which amounts to more than 30 million Americans. Here's where the stats get grim: Cigarette smoking continues to be the number-one "cause of preventable disease, disability, and death" in the U.S., leading to 480,000 deaths annually.

Americans have easy access to cigarettes. The vast majority of people (more than 63%) purchase smokes and other tobacco products at convenience stores, says NPR. Other popular outlets include tobacco specialists, supermarkets, and drugstores. However, the number of businesses selling cigarettes is also decreasing. When CVS stopped selling tobacco products in 2014, some wondered if the move would pressure its competitors to do the same. Drugstores and other retailers have long been under fire for promoting healthy food, products, and lifestyles while at the same time giving store space to harmful cigarettes (via CNBC). Now, Walmart is making a major change in response to the scrutiny.

Walmart snuffs cigarette sales in some stores

Retail giant Walmart Inc. is in the process of removing cigarettes from certain stores in California, Florida, New Mexico, and Arkansas, per The Wall Street Journal. The decision reportedly follows many years of discussion among the chain's leadership on the topic of tobacco sales and revenue.

Walmart is the nation's largest retailer. The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., operates more than 4,700 stores. It should be noted the retailer is not suspending all sales of Camel, Kool, Winston, and other cigarette brands, and it's not yet clear how many stores will cease cigarette sales. According to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has asked his executive team to come up with ways to remove tobacco from stores without issuing a company-wide policy.

As a result of the cigarette snuff-out, customers can expect a different look at Walmart stores affected by the decision. The retailer may increase the number of self-checkout stations, for example, and dedicate more space to convenience items typically purchased at the front of the store — think packaged snacks and candy items.