WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday banned sales of four cigarette brands from R.J. Reynolds because they did not meet the agency’s safety review requirements.
Under FDA rules, companies that launch new cigarettes must show that the products are essentially the same as older products in terms of health risks. The FDA said the four brands failed to show that they don’t raise new safety concerns.
Agency officials said they participated in a “considerable back and forth” with North Carolina-based R.J. Reynolds before ordering the cigarettes off the market.
“All we have to conclude is that the different characteristics of these products raise different issues of public health,” said FDA’s tobacco director, Mitch Zeller. “In our mind, these changed features raised questions for us.”
The brands are Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13.
Tuesday’s action means it is illegal for retailers to sell or distribute the four cigarette brands. However, the agency said it will not take action for 30 days to give stores and distributors time to dispose of the products.
The FDA has banned a number of new tobacco products, including a dozen in 2015. However, anti-tobacco activists said Tuesday’s action was the first to target a major cigarette brand: Camel Crush Bold.
Camel is one of the three most popular cigarette brands among youth smokers, with 15 percent preferring Camel, according to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
“The FDA’s action is a critical step in preventing the introduction of tobacco products that may be more appealing to youth, more addictive or more harmful,” the group said in a statement.
Camel Crush features a menthol capsule in the filter that releases the flavor when crushed. The FDA determined that this and other new features and ingredients raised new health concerns. — AP
UPS holiday hiring to mirror last year’s
NEW YORK — UPS said Tuesday it will hire 90,000 to 95,000 employees — about the same as last year — to help handle shipping and deliveries over the holiday season.
The company has struggled to handle a crush of online shipping over the past two years, particularly during the last, frenzied days of the shopping season, when retailers entice people into buying last-minute gifts by offering free shipping. Millions of packages arrived late in 2013 and 2014. UPS said it is better prepared this year because it is reaching out to more customers, including smaller retailers, to get estimates of how many orders they expect to receive. The company says it is getting more updates on those figures.
“We know those things are coming now where once upon a time we may not have expected them,” said executive Tammy Caldwell. — AP
GE may shift jobs overseas over lending program’s halt
HARTFORD, Conn. — General Electric Co. said Tuesday that it may move about 500 jobs overseas because Congress did not renew a government program that allows foreign companies to borrow money to buy U.S. products.
Authorization for the U.S. Export-Import Bank was not approved by Congress, forcing it to stop lending July 1. Foreign companies use the agency to buy expensive U.S. products when bank loans are not available.
As a result, GE says 100 jobs from a Houston plant that makes gas turbines will move to Hungary and China in 2016. The Fairfield, Connecticut, industrial conglomerate says those countries have lending options in place for customers.
Another 400 jobs could be created in France instead of factories in South Carolina, Maine and New York if the company wins projects it is bidding on. The projects require financing, and the export-credit agency in France has agreed to provide it. — AP
Verizon, AT&T setting up inside Best Buy stores
The nation’s two largest wireless carriers are building their own dedicated retail shops within Best Buy locations.
Verizon Wireless said Tuesday that it is rolling out Verizon Experience stores — where shoppers can try out the latest smartphones, tablets, wearables, apps and services — at 250 Best Buys around the country.
Rival AT&T, meanwhile, is opening its own dedicated stores at 250 Best Buy locations, many of them the same ones where Verizon is setting up shop, according to technology news website Recode.
As more customers go online to buy electronics, Best Buy has increasingly turned over a portion of its in-store space to other companies in an effort to remain relevant.
Verizon has already begun rolling out the Verizon Experience stores at Best Buy and said it plans to have nearly 100 locations by the end of the month. The company expects that number to increase to 250 locations by the end of 2015.
The Verizon Experience space is in addition to the current Verizon presence within Best Buy. — The Los Angeles Times
CEOs cut back plans for hiring and spending
WASHINGTON — Chief executives at major U.S. companies reduced their hiring and spending plans as their overall assessment for the nation’s economy fell to a two-year low amid concerns about global growth and a potential federal government shutdown, according to a leading industry survey released Tuesday.
The CEO economic outlook index from the Business Roundtable trade group fell to 74.1 in the third quarter of the year, down 7.2 points from the previous quarter.
The figure, a composite of projections for sales, hiring and capital spending over the next six months, fell below its historical average of 80.4 for the first time since 2013, said Randall Stephenson, chief executive of AT&T Inc. and the group’s chairman.
“We have a strengthening dollar, slowing growth abroad and recent international financial market turmoil, and all of that has created some degree of uncertainty in the U.S. economy,” Stephenson said. — The Los Angeles Times