PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) ¿ Tobacco company Star Scientific Inc. said Tuesday it will ask the Food and Drug Administration to approve a new method for making smokeless tobacco with reduced toxins.

Star Scientific said the new method of tobacco cultivation, curing and preparation is patented and will create tobacco leaves with low levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines. The company said it believes it will have the lowest toxin levels of any tobacco product, and said it will ask for approval in early 2010, once testing is finished.

In afternoon trading, Star Scientific shares rose 12 cents, or 12.2 percent, to $1.08. The stock surged more than 22 percent earlier, and about 16.7 million shares changed hands by early afternoon. The average full day trading volume for Star Scientific shares is about 4 million.

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