According to Jefferies, it’s time to buy Philip Morris International as the Marlboro maker moves to smokeless alternatives. Analyst Owen Bennett upgraded the tobacco company’s stock to buy from hold and raised his price target after Philip Morris doubled down on its acquisition of oral nicotine company Swedish Match. “Upgrading PM to Buy, new PT USD118 as we now also capture contribution from SM deal,” Bennett wrote on Thursday. An analyst says Philip Morris is leading a shift in so-called reduced-risk products (RRPs), or smokeless alternatives to cigarettes that are presented as less harmful, which is key to delivering “significant upside” for tobacco companies. Philip Morris said it expects its push to become the sole owner of Swedish Match will support its “ambition to ensure a smoke-free future”. “Longer term, we are consistently constructive on PM as it drives the shift to the tobacco model of the future, both RRP and Beyond Nicotine. The former is the global leader with estimated RRP share.” 23% compared to a 21% share in combustibles,” Bennett wrote. Philip Morris shares are down nearly 2% in 2023, after rising more than 12% after last year’s close. Meanwhile, the analyst’s price target is $118, up from $86, suggesting the stock could jump another 18% from Wednesday’s close. Tobacco shares rose more than 1% in premarket trading Thursday. —CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.