Rite Aid on Thursday announced that over the next 90 days it will stop selling all e-cigarette and vaping products in response to increasing use of the products among youth.
E-cigarettes have been sold in the United States for at least a decade and have become popular among both adults looking to quit smoking and teens who have not previously smoked. But despite the surging popularity of e-cigarettes, public health experts say little is known about the health effects of long-term use, particularly among nonsmokers.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in a January report found that e-cigarettes contain numerous potentially toxic chemicals, but that they contain fewer toxic chemicals than conventional cigarettes, and those chemicals are present in lower levels. But the researchers found "substantial" evidence that e-cigarette use among young users correlates with traditional tobacco use later in life.
Bryan Everett, Rite Aid's operating chief, when announcing the pharmacy chain's new policy specifically cited CDC data showing e-cigarette use drove a 38% increase in tobacco use among high school students. Everett said, "While many feel these products are beneficial to those of legal age who are trying to quit the use of tobacco, we have made the decision to remove all electronic cigarettes and vaping products from our offering at all Rite Aid stores."
A Rite Aid spokesperson said the company will continue to sell traditional cigarettes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
CVS Health in 2014 discontinued sales of all tobacco products and, facing pressure from federal regulators and investors, Walgreens recently began piloting tobacco-free stores, though the company said it currently does not have plans to stop selling e-cigarettes completely.
Rite Aid to sell CBD-infused creams, lotions, lip balms
Rite Aid on Thursday also announced that it will begin to sell cannabidol (CBD)-infused creams, lotions, lip balms, and other topical products in more than 200 of its stores in Washington and Oregon beginning in April.
Manufacturers of products infused with CBD claim the products can ease anxiety, soothe eczema, and even treat diabetes, but experts warn that these products are unregulated, and very little is known about CBD's medicinal effects or potential hazards.
Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, said, "Does [CBD] help people with eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, or ulcerative colitis? We don't know. There is a good theoretical basis, but the studies have not been done."
CVS and Walgreens have also recently begun selling CBD-infused products in some stores. Retailers are assessing the CBD market as federal regulators develop policies to regulate CBD-infused products, CNBC reports (Thomas, Wall Street Journal, 4/11; LaVito, CNBC, 4/11).
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Despite the legal and clinical ambiguity surrounding marijuana policy and use, health systems should devise a strategy for managing marijuana in their facilities.
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