The three largest tobacco manufacturers announced they are increasing cigarette prices, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard and Philip Morris USA confirmed on Friday that prices for most of their brands will rise. Reynolds and Lorillard will raise the list price by 6 cents per pack, or 60 cents per carton. Philip Morris announced it will decrease its promotional discount to wholesale and direct-buying customers on Marlboro and L&M brands by 6 cents a pack, which will result in the same price increase as its competitors.
Pat Shehan, owner of the Tarheel Tobacco retail chain, said some smokers will switch to deeper discount brands, such as Marlboro Special Blend and Pall Mall. Others may roll their own cigarettes, switch to filter cigars, or try e-cigarettes.
Tobacco control groups say when cigarette prices increase, consume demands generally drops slightly, the article notes. Stephen Pope, Chief Global Market Strategist with Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, agreed. He told the newspaper studies have shown that every 10 percent increase in a pack of cigarettes tends to lead to an average 4.8 percent drop in consumption.
Tobacco companies are expected to spend millions of dollars on e-cigarette advertising this year. The U.S. market for e-cigarettes is projected to double this year, to about $1 billion.