Tobacco stocks surged Wednesday after regulators threatened to pull e-cigarettes from shelves if manufacturers do not control "widespread" teen use.
Shares of Altria rose more nearly 7 percent to their best day since November, 2008. Philip Morris International increased about 3 percent. British American Tobacco shares increased nearly 6 percent to their best day since December, 2008. In London, Imperial Brands rose 3 percent.
The FDA is considering restricting e-cigarette manufacturers from selling flavored nicotine liquid or making the products undergo an agency review. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb extended an Obama-era deadline that would have required e-cigarettes on the market by 2016 to be reviewed starting this year.
The FDA is specifically ordering five brands — Juul, BAT's Vuse, Altria's MarkTen, Imperial's Blu E-cigs and Japan Tobacco's Logic — to submit plans within 60 days detailing how they will prevent teens from using their products. The agency may require the companies to revise their sales and marketing practices, to stop distributing products to retailers that sell to kids and to stop selling some or all of their flavored e-cigarette products until the companies clear the application process.
Investors welcomed the regulatory crackdown. E-cigarette sales have threatened Big Tobacco companies. Some of them own their own e-cigarette brands, but none has been nearly as successful as privately held Juul.
The San Francisco-based company sold $1.29 billion in vape kits and nicotine pods over the 12 months ended Aug. 11 — more than half of the $2.31 billion for the entire category, according to Nielsen data compiled by Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog.