CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. will stop selling electronic cigarettes and vaping products at all locations within the next 90 days, Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett said on the drugstore chain's fourth-quarter 2019 earnings call on April 12. He also said that the chain will begin selling nonedible cannabidiol (CBD) products.
"While many feel these [e-cigarette and vaping] products are beneficial to those of legal age or 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," Everett said.
The decision to remove e-cigarettes and vaping products comes as a result of alarming statistics regarding the use of these products by children and teens, a Rite Aid spokesperson told CSP Daily News. This comes months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly declared its plans to effectively ban most flavored pod-style vaping devices from most convenience stores and gas stations nationwide.
“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use among our nation’s children grew nearly 38% between 2017 and 2018,” the Rite Aid spokesperson said. “This has been driven largely by an increase of e-cigarette use, which over the past year has increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school-aged children.”
Rite Aid will still sell traditional cigarettes and continue enforcing its chainwide identification policy for these age-restricted items.
“Many of Rite Aid’s customers still want the ability to purchase traditional tobacco products, and at this time, Rite Aid will continue to offer customers that choice,” the company said. “We will continue to sell these products in accordance with state, federal and local laws.”
Meanwhile, Rite Aid will also debut creams, lotions and lip balms infused with CBD in more than 200 stores in Oregon and Washington this month.
The company had heard from customers about their interest in purchasing CBD products, the spokesperson said. “We will begin piloting the sale of CBD [products] to better meet the needs and preferences of our customers in those communities,” he said.
Rite Aid is the third major drugstore chain to stock CBD products within the past month. In late March, CVS Health Corp., Woonsocket, R.I. debuted CBD products in select stores in eight states. One week later, Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens revealed it will sell CBD products in nearly 1,500 stores in nine states.
Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid is a leading drugstore chain with nearly 2,500 stores in 18 states and the District of Columbia. The company had fiscal 2019 annual revenue of $21.6 billion.