It's time to buy Philip Morris International as the Marlboro maker shifts to smokeless alternatives, according to Jefferies. Analyst Owen Bennett upgraded shares of the tobacco company to buy from hold and raised his price target after Philip Morris doubled down on efforts to acquire oral nicotine company Swedish Match. "We upgrade PM to Buy, new PT USD118, as we also now capture the contribution from the SM deal," Bennett wrote Thursday. The analyst said Philip Morris is leading the shift in what's called reduced-risk products. RRPs are smokeless alternatives to cigarettes that are presented as less harmful, which is key to delivering "sizable upside" for tobacco companies. Philip Morris said it expects its efforts to become the sole owner of Swedish Match will support its "ambition to deliver a smoke-free future." "On a longer-term basis, we have consistently been constructive on PM because it is leading the shift over to the tobacco model of the future, both RRP and Beyond Nicotine. On the former, it is the global leader, with estimated RRP share of 23%, compared to 21% share in combustibles," Bennett wrote. Philip Morris shares are down nearly 2% in 2023, after closing last year up more than 12%. Meanwhile, the analyst's $118 price target, up from $86, suggests shares can jump another 18% from Wednesday's closing price. The tobacco stock rose more than 1% in Thursday premarket trading. — CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.