RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – When the Food and Drug Administration temporarily suspended the order banning the sale of JUUL electronic cigarettes on Wednesday, that proved to be a big boost for the Richmond-based Altria Group, Inc. 

Altria’s stock was up 1.5% to $41.47 as the market opened on Thursday, according to Barron’s. The business publication reported the Richmond-based company invested $12.8 billion in JUUL at the end of 2018, giving them a 35% minority stake in JUUL. According to Altria, the investment was to “accelerate harm reduction and drive growth.” 

The Richmond company’s stock was down 5.3% in April 2020, at $35.63, after the Federal Trade Commission announced its administrative complaint alleging that the company violated antitrust laws in distribution and marketing deals it made with JUUL when Altria bought a stake in the vendor. 

JUUL is based in San Francisco, makes $2 million in revenue yearly and is billed as a company that specializes in “improving alternatives for adult smokers” according to Crunchbase. 

While the FDA’s decision could mean the JUULs are back on shelves, that prospect is concerning to public health experts. JUUL’s products contain nicotine and its website warns that it is an addictive chemical. 

Altria headquarters is located at 6601 W Broad St, Richmond, VA.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for the Study of Tobacco Products conducts studies on e-cigarettes focusing on the harmful health effects and marketing targeting youth and African Americans. The university’s studies have shown the frequently cited claim that e-cigarettes are 95% less risky and less harmful than combustible cigarettes is outdated, misleading and invalid and should no longer be made in discussions on the dangers of vaping. 

Another VCU study found maltreated young adults are more likely to use e-cigarettes. While the long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes are unclear, the VCU researchers cite evidence connecting e-cigarette use to various adverse health outcomes, including heart attack, respiratory problems and asthma 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states e-cigarettes are widely used by students and list the harmful effects of nicotine as being highly addictive and can harm brain development. The CDC also states that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future. 

8News contacted Altria on Wednesday for comments and has not heard back.