Shares of British American Tobacco rose in early trading Wednesday after its Vuse Solo e-cigarettes and tobacco-flavored pods became the first vapor product to get the nod from U.S. regulators.
The Food and Drug Administration granted marketing approval Tuesday after a review of company research showed its tobacco-flavored products could help adult smokers who switch from cigarettes reduce exposure to harmful chemicals .
But the agency rejected the company’s five flavored products. It said BAT had failed to show they would protect public health. The FDA said, however, that it is still evaluating the company’s menthol version.
The decision comes as makers of e-cigarettes are under the scrutiny of health regulators for allegedly targeting their marketing at youth and concerns that a new generation would get hooked on nicotine.
Most users in a recent CDC survey of American middle and high school students said they used flavored products with fruit, candy and desserts among the most common.
A broader U.S. study showed adolescents who used e-cigarettes were more than four times as likely to be smoking traditional cigarettes within a couple of years compared to those who tried any vapes.
In September, the FDA delayed its decision on whether BAT rival Juul – popular with young people - and other major manufacturers could sell their e-cigarette products in the United States, as it weighed the public health impact of the products.