Cigarette Maker Stocks Plunge on FDA Announcement, But Health Experts Are Skeptical


Emma Court, Marketwatch

July 28, 2017

A Food and Drug Administration announcement Friday that included a proposal to lower nicotine levels in cigarettes to non-addictive levels sent cigarette maker shares plunging. […]

Health experts said that the Friday announcement focused on important public health priorities, including examining the effect flavors, such as menthol, have in attracting young people to tobacco products and approaching any changes so as to avoid a spike in black market activity.

But they also expressed skepticism about the real-world effects of Friday’s news, and concern about its pushback of reviews for products like cigars and hookah tobacco until 2021 and things like e-cigarettes until 2022. The aforementioned products are already on the market but have come more recently under FDA regulation. […]

And the announcement’s intent matters less than “not just what they ask for, but what they require,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research.

Extending the product review timeline keeps harmful products on the market longer, Dobbins said.

For its part, the FDA said that extending the review deadlines will give the regulator more time along with giving companies “additional time to develop higher quality, more complete applications informed by additional guidance from the agency.” […]

Though the Friday announcement appeared to be a negative for cigarette makers, it could be “an opportunity over the long term for reduced-risk products,” said Wells Fargo Securities analyst Bonnie Herzog, such as Altria and Philip Morris’ smokeless iQOS devices. “We see this as an opportune entry point for long-term investors and would recommend building positions on today’s broad weakness.” […]

Read the original article here.