"5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use" unless we change course, the FDA said.
Tobacco stocks slumped on Friday following news that the US Food and Drug Administration seeks to lower nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
Here are some of the movers:
"Because nicotine lives at the core of both the problem and the solution to the question of addiction, addressing the addictive levels of nicotine in combustible cigarettes must be part of the FDA’s strategy for addressing the devastating, addiction crisis that is threatening American families," said Scott Gottlieb, the FDA commissioner, in a statement.
"Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use," he added.
The FDA plans to start public dialogue about this plan and get input on any possible adverse consequences.
The agency said its policy won't affect any current requirements for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, and would only impact newly regulated products like cigars and e-cigarettes.
"The fine print suggests balancing regulation of existing products with encouraging innovation for future less harmful options," said Michael van Dulken, the head of research at Accendo Markets, in a note. "It might not sound great, but it doesn’t read like the industry is destined to go up in smoke."