LONDON (Reuters) – Shares of major tobacco companies in the U.S. and UK slumped in heavy volumes on Friday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that it was seeking to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes.
British American Tobacco shares, trading close to all-time highs, fell as much as 11 percent and were on track for their biggest one-day loss in nearly 18 years.
Altria, which makes the Marlboro brand of cigarettes, fell as much as 16 percent, slipped into the red for the year.
The sharp slide was poised to wipe off about $60 billion off of the market value of the world’s biggest tobacco producers.
Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Vikram Subhedar