Supermarkets cited in crackdown on e-cigarettes

Tobacco stocks are rallying the most in a decade following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's announcement that it's cracking down on e-cigarettes in an effort to combat youth vaping.

The five brands the FDA has addressed are: Juul, Vuse, MarkTen XL, blu e-cigs and Logic.

In a statement, Juul Labs said "appropriate flavors" play a role in adults changing their smoking habits, but said it would work with the FDA: "We are committed to preventing underage use of our product, and we want to be part of the solution in keeping e-cigarettes out of the hands of young people".

"These alternative nicotine delivery devices can be important for helping adults get off of combustible tobacco as an offramp", said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday.

And if the trends in use that we're seeing right now continue, we're going to have to take even more dramatic actions. E-cigs deliver lower toxin levels than regular cigarettes, but users can inhale more of the addictive stimulant nicotine. Juul, a private company, represents 72 percent of sales, according to Nielsen data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie.

The company, which sells pods with flavours such as mango, mint and creme, also defended such products, which it said help adult customers trying to quit traditional smoking. "I'll be clear. The FDA won't tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to have unfettered access to these same products". "This could mean requiring these brands to remove some or all of their flavored products that may be contributing to the rise in youth use from the market until they receive premarket authorization and otherwise meet all of their obligations under the law".

The FDA said it has sent more than 1,100 warning letters to stores for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes to under-age vapers and issued fines to another 131 shops. "Juuling", along with "vaping", has become a common term for e-cigarette use by teenagers on social media and at USA high schools.

"By working together, we believe we can help adult smokers while preventing access to minors", the company said in a statement.

In addition, the FDA on Wednesday issued 12 warning letters to online retailers for selling misleadingly labeled and/or advertised e-liquids resembling kid-friendly food products such as candy and cookies. More generally, the FDA wants Juul and the other companies to contemplate "the particular youth appeal of their products", which involves features, such as style and convenience, that adults also happen to like.

Other studies have indicated that while e-cigarettes may have milder effects on the lungs, they are just as bad - if not worse - for the cardiovascular system, raising risks of heart disease and high blood pressure. Shares of cigarette and e-cigarette maker Altria Group also rose more than 6 percent, while Philip Morris International shares were up 4 percent. Several of the retailers also were cited for illegally selling the products to minors.

Traders said proposed FDA action was less harsh than feared. Earlier this year, as criticism of the company mounted, it committed $30 million over the next three years for independent research, youth and parent education and community engagement.

The FDA point out that, despite lacking tobacco and plenty of the nasties present in normal cigarettes, nicotine itself is hardly a benign substance.

  • Santos West