The announcement wiped almost £1.9bn off Imperial’s market capitalisation as shares fell 10 per cent before partially recovering to trade 8 per cent down.
Imperial, which makes cigarette brands including Lambert & Butler and Richmond, said earnings per share would drop 10 per cent this year.
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The company blamed a Federal Drug Administration ban on certain flavours of cartridge-based vapes, and weaker than expected consumer demand for e-cigarette products.
American regulators have brought in strict new controls on vaping after an explosion in the number of young people using the addictive products.
A ban on most flavoured cartridges comes in on Thursday as part of measures to reduce vaping’s appeal to teenagers.
While public health bodies maintain that e-cigarettes are significantly safer than smoking, there has been public outcry at companies’ marketing efforts, which have included brightly coloured cartridges, an array of flavours and adverts on social media.
Imperial and other tobacco companies have pinned their hopes on the growing use of e-cigarettes as smoking rates decline in wealthy countries.
“Regulatory uncertainty and adverse news flow continues to affect demand in the US and Europe,” Imperial said in a stock market update on Wednesday.
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The company’s profit warning comes during a turbulent period that has seen the departure of chief executive Alison Cooper this week.