Big tobacco gets sold hard on FDA nicotine reduction talk

With U.S. officials pushing to cut the nicotine in cigarettes below addictive levels, there’s new urgency to switch to next-generation smoking products that are higher-tech — and purportedly lower-risk.

Philip Morris International Inc. and other big tobacco companies have been planning for this future for years, spending billions of dollars developing alternatives to combustible cigarettes. But a regulatory crackdown could force them to speed up those efforts — and convince investors that Americans are ready to ditch traditional smokes after more than a century of puffing away.

How unfortunate that companies who make their profits from destroying the health of addicted people are suffering. Perhaps they should have considered investing in e-cigarette technology rather than tobacco years ago. That market share has already been captured by other companies. Traditional tobacco cigarette producers are on life support. And reinvention seems unlikely given that they’re so late to the game.

Full disclosure: No positions in any tobacco companies long or short.