With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) targeting the major players in the vaping industry, Altria Group (NYSE:MO) became a casualty.
It could be short-term.
The Richmond, Va.-based alternative smoking company announced the temporary discontinuation of products from its MarkTen line, according to wtvr.com.
The company’s product depth was felled by the FDA’s September declaration it will come down hard on vaping companies who do not create a sound marketing plan to keep devices away from minors. If the FDA is not convinced, it promised to ban retailers from stocking the ousted devices.
Among the pod-based systems Altria planned to suspend was the Altria MarkTen Elite and MarkTenApex. It also discontinued a series of flavor lines and the Green Smoke cig-a-like systems, according to wtvr.com.
For how long?
At least until “the youth issue is otherwise addressed,” the company reportedly said. Or, until the FDA finalizes its next move in its crusade to keep vaping products out of the reach of teenagers.
On the surface, the FDA’s actions appear credible.
But it seems to be missing some valid points. It’s true several studies indicate a steady rise in youth vaping. It’s also true a number of studies concluded vaping has fewer health risks and the rates of teens smoking traditional cigarettes continue to drop.
Still, the vaping industry remains in the FDA’s crosshairs.
The Altria MarkTen was gunned down as the company attempted to upend possible regulatory action.
During its third-quarter earnings report, the company said: “Altria welcomed FDA’s action and recently met with FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb to discuss actions that could be taken.”
Wonder how long it will be until JUUL Labs and other top vaping companies make similar moves and begin downsizing on their own before the federal hammer is wielded.
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