The stigma attached to cigarettes in the US continues to worsen, exemplified by indoor smoking bans in cities like New York and Philadelphia. Altria (MO) figured that if health risks were the problem, a healthier cigarette might help. It didn’t. WSJ:
The nation’s largest cigarette maker, Altria Group Inc.’s Philip Morris USA, has failed in yet another attempt to sell Americans on a potentially safer cigarette, pulling the plug on Marlboro Ultra Smooth, a version of Marlboro that used a high-technology filter.
The product failure highlights the U.S. cigarette giant’s challenges in finding a source of growth to offset a worsening decline in U.S. cigarette sales….
[US] sales volume fell 4.6% last year, worse than the 4% decline in the overall U.S. cigarette market….Philip Morris USA executives say they expect cigarette sales overall to decline at an annual rate of between 2.5% and 3% in coming years.
(Since Philip Morris International was spun off from Altria a few months back, Altria now gets virtually all its revenues from Philip Morris USA.)