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Expand chart
Data: Investing.com, Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Rite Aid announced Thursday it will stop selling e-cigarettes and vaping products in all of its stores (more than 2,400 of them) because of concerns that they are behind the increase in tobacco use among middle and high school students. Rite Aid will continue to sell regular tobacco products.

What's happening: The latest National Youth Tobacco Survey, released in January, found a 78% increase in e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48% increase in middle school students. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said he would consider taking e-cigarettes off the market if companies continued marketing aggressively to young people.

Why it matters: Rite Aid's decision is the latest bit of bad news for Altria, which paid $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in e-cigarette juggernaut Juul.

  • On Jan. 22, a Morgan Stanley analyst downgraded the stock, warning that the accelerating decline in cigarette volume would negatively impact Altria. The stock fell 6.9%, according to data from Investing.com.
  • On April 3, the FDA said it was investigating 35 cases between 2010 and 2019 of people who suffered seizures after vaping. The stock fell 4.8% after a 1.8% slide the previous day.

Go deeper: Juul employees upset over possible Altria deal

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.