Tuesday, July 27

Tobacco stocks drop as FDA announces probe of seizures after vaping

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A person smokes a Juul Labs Inc. e-cigarette in this arranged photograph taken in the Brooklyn Borough of New York, U.S.

Tobacco stocks dipped Wednesday after the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating nearly three dozen cases of people who had seizures after vaping.

Between 2010 and 2019, the FDA said it received 35 reports of people, especially kids and young adults, experiencing seizures after using e-cigarettes. Severe nicotine poisoning can cause seizures. However, the FDA said it’s unclear whether e-cigarettes caused the seizures in these cases.

Shares of Altria, which late last year invested $12.8 billion for a 35 percent stake in e-cigarette giant Juul, fell by more than 3 percent. Shares of British American Tobacco traded in the U.S. slid 1.6 percent. Shares of U.K.-based Imperial Brands traded in the U.S. dipped 2.7 percent.

Even though the FDA didn’t directly blame e-cigarettes, the news won’t help the already negative perception surrounding the devices. A study published last week from researchers at Georgia State University found more adults think e-cigarettes are as bad or worse than combustible cigarettes than five years ago.

The news may also spook investors who are already fearing the FDA will tighten e-cigarette restrictions even more as it tries to control what the agency has labeled an “epidemic” of teen vaping.

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