Rite Aid said it will no longer sell electronic cigarettes amid what it calls an “epidemic” of teen vaping, and that it will start selling cannabidiol (CBD) products in Washington and Oregon, according to a report by CNBC.
Chief Operating Officer Bryan Everett told analysts the news on a call discussing Q4 earnings. The company will continue selling regular cigarettes.
“While many feel (e-cigs) 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,” Everett said.
The company will also start selling CBD creams, lip balms and lotions in 200 stores, as demand for the cannabis-based but non-psychoactive products continue to rise.
“Rite Aid has heard from many customers about their interest in purchasing CBD products,” the company said in a statement.
Although the benefits are lacking in scientific evidence, many claim to find relief from everything from anxiety to back pain using the products.
CBD made from hemp was legalized late last year, and the FDA has ruled that CBD can’t be added to food or sold as a dietary supplement.
The market for CBD continues to grow, with nearly 7 percent of Americans saying they use the substance. According to an analysis by Cowen & Co., the market could reach $16 billion by the year 2025, as per a report by Bloomberg.
Cowen questioned 2,500 adults for a January survey. Analyst Vivien Azer said that the 6.9 percent of people who said they used CBD was higher than the 4.2 percent who used an e-cig. Also, 19.6 percent of people considered themselves current tobacco users. It was the CBD usage, however, that most surprised the analyst.
“This initial response piqued our interest considerably, as it was much higher than we would have suspected,” Azer said.
The prediction for the continued use of CBD was set “conservatively” at usage growing 10 percent by 2025, which would reach the $16 billion threshold.