February 25th, 2011

Altria Plans To Test-Market Smokeless 'Tobacco Sticks'

Wall St. Journal

Two Altria Group Inc. subsidiaries plan to test-market a form of smokeless tobacco called “tobacco sticks,” in a new effort to woo consumers with alternatives to conventional tobacco products.

Philip Morris USA, the leading U.S. cigarette maker by sales, and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., the largest producer of moist snuff, each will begin marketing spit-free tobacco-coated sticks next month at select retailers in Kansas, a spokesman confirmed. The 2.5-inch-long wooden sticks will be sold under the Marlboro and Skoal labels.

The effort shows how the Richmond, Va., company is trying to capitalize on opportunities for growth in the smokeless-tobacco category amid continuing declines in sales volumes in the much-larger cigarette category. Industry sales volumes for moist snuff and other smokeless tobacco products have been increasing at about 7% per year.

Read more:  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703842004576162920066342358.html

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