British American Tobacco welcomes US ban on e-cigarette flavours

Shares in British American Tobacco (BAT) have risen after the tobacco giant welcomed the US health regulator’s move to ban popular e-cigarette flavours.

The FTSE 100 firm said it would comply with the new guidelines unveiled by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a bid to curb teenage vaping.

Under a new policy that will launch next month, e-cigarette makers will be banned from selling fruit and mint flavoured pod-based e-cigarette flavours in the US.

BAT, which produces the Vype and Vuse vaping brands, said it believes “appropriate enforcement will ensure the sustainability of adult consumer choice across all product categories”.

It said that the policy announcement has provided much-needed clarity to its vaping business, following “a significant period of disruption and uncertainty”.

US regulators have continued to clamp down on vaping and advertising over the past year after concerns over the number of young people using e-cigarettes.

Tobacco companies have doubled down on vaping in recent years, as cigarette sales continue to dwindle in the US and other major markets.

Jack Bowles, chief executive officer at BAT, said: “Yesterday’s announcement takes us a step closer to a predictable regulatory environment in a key marketplace, but focus must now shift to enforcement to ensure vapour market regulations are effective.

“We have long said it is not the marketing of these products per se that is the concern, it is the irresponsible marketing of them that should be robustly addressed.

“For us, smart regulatory frameworks partnered with responsible marketing and appropriate enforcement will ensure the sustainability of adult consumer choice across all categories.”

BAT said it has already applied for FDA permission for continuing the sale of its Vuse brand, which is now a requirement for suppliers before May 2020.

Shares in the business increased 1.9% to 3,328p in early morning trading.