Federal U.S. health officials said Friday they are considering new standards that would require tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels, as part of a sweeping review of industry regulations.
Shares of major tobacco companies tumbled on the move by the Federal Drug Administration. Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. fell 6.4%, while British American Tobacco PLC, maker of Camel cigarettes, tumbled 10.5%.
The agency said it was adopting a harm-reduction strategy that seeks to balance regulation of existing products and encourage development of "new products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes." Among the issues it will examine is the role of menthol and other flavors in tobacco products.
The FDA will consider an exemption for premium cigars, and a delay in implementing new rules for reduced-risk products such as e-cigarettes, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a press conference.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
July 28, 2017 11:13 ET (15:13 GMT)