New York (AFP)

Walmart said Friday that it will stop selling electronic cigarettes in its US stores, accused of encouraging young people to smoke with a high risk of nicotine addiction.

This decision will take effect once the current stocks have passed, said the world's number 1 distributor, in an email.

"In view of the increasing complexity and uncertainty surrounding the regulation of electronic cigarettes at the federal, state, and local levels, we will stop selling nicotine-containing electronic products at the US Walmart and Sam's Club sites," said a spokesman. Sam's Club is the brand name of the South Arkansas Group's wholesale stores.

"We will finalize this disengagement once the current inventories have been completed," he added.

Walmart's decision came two days after New York State followed suit with Michigan to ban the marketing of flavored electronic cigarettes.

The Trump administration also announced on September 11 that a similar measure would be taken in the coming months at the federal level.

E-cigarettes are the cause of a recent outbreak of lung disease in the United States, according to federal health authorities.

The total number of vaping patients is 530 confirmed and probable cases, and seven deaths, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The exact cause of these diseases is still unknown.

© 2019 AFP