Altria shares hit after National Cancer Institute director named acting head of the FDA

FAN Editor

Altria investors don’t seem to like the prospects for the cigarette maker under the new acting FDA commissioner.

The company’s stock fell to their lows of the day, trading around 1.5 percent lower, after National Cancer Institute Director Ned Sharpless was named interim head of the agency.

Shared of Philip Morris International also fell 0.7 percent, while British American Tobacco‘s U.S.-listed shares dipped 0.2 percent.

Sharpless’ naming comes after Scott Gottlieb resigned last week from his post as FDA commissioner. Gottlieb called the use of e-cigarettes an “epidemic.” He also threatened to pull all e-cigarette products if things did not improve.

Gottlieb’s resignation was initially seen as a positive for the tobacco industry, especially for e-cigarette makers like Juul. Gottlieb successfully pushed Juul — a company in which Altria has a $12.8 billion stake in — to stop selling most of its nicotine flavors.

However, his departure opened the possibility for someone tougher on the industry to take the reigns.

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