Walmart to Stop Selling Cigarettes in Some Stores

    Photo: Sarah Nassauer and Jennifer Malloney/WSJ

    The Facts

    • After years of internal debate, Walmart's CEO, Doug McMillon, decided Mon. to pull cigarettes from the shelves at some stores in Arkansas, California, Florida, and New Mexico. The retail giant intends to move away from cigarettes to increase its investment in healthcare services.

    • Walmart said this decision will be made on a store-by-store basis of business and market needs. They do not plan to halt all tobacco sales.

    The Spin

    Left narrative

    Public health advocates and more than two dozen state attorneys general have been pushing Walmart, along with other pharmacies, to cease tobacco sales. It's especially inappropriate for health care providers to be profiteering from the addiction of Americans, rather than providing services to tackle such health issues.

    Libertarian narrative

    Walmart shouldn't be in the business of morally policing its customers. Tobacco products are legal, and if customers want to buy them, Walmart should sell them.

    Narrative C

    This decision is smart business. According to market research, mixed retailers like Walmart only account for about 14% of all tobacco sales, which are restricted and less profitable anyway.

    Political split



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