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Tobacco sticks for electronic cigarette system at the research and development campus of Philip Morris International in western Switzerland.

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Shares of


British American Tobacco

and other makers of e-cigarettes were rising Wednesday after the Food and Drug Administration approved an e-cigarette in the U.S. for the first time.

U.S.-listed shares of


British American Tobacco

(ticker: BTI) were up 2% to $35.44.


Altria

(MO), which owns 35% of Juul, was up slightly to $47.88, and


Philip Morris
,
which owns IQOS, was up 1.14%.

The FDA authorized e-cigarettes and tobacco-flavored pods made by Vuse, which are produced by RJ Reynolds, a unit of British American Tobacco. The nod came after the company proved Vuse could help adult smokers either significantly reduce smoking or quit completely. 

Data showed that Vuse reduced exposure to harmful chemicals released by cigarettes, said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. The decision allows the maker of Vuse to legally market and sell the product in the U.S.

“We will monitor the marketing of the products, including whether the company fails to comply with any regulatory requirements or if credible evidence emerges of significant use by individuals who did not previously use a tobacco product, including youth,” Zeller said in a statement announcing the decision.

“We will take action as appropriate, including withdrawing the authorization,” he added.

While the regulator cleared tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes, it denied marketing authorization to specific flavored products by Vuse. The FDA declined to say which ones, but cited data from a 2021 tobacco survey that said most youth and young adults like to use e-cigarettes with flavors such as fruit, candy or mint.

The FDA is still evaluating Vuse’s application for menthol-flavored products.

The agency over the past few months has issued several warning letters to companies for unlawfully marketing electronic nicotine products. As of last month, the FDA issued a total of 323 denial orders, representing roughly 1.2 million flavored electronic nicotine products.

Write to Karishma Vanjani at karishma.vanjani@dowjones.com

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