Philip Morris USA has begun testing the waters in the roll-your-own tobacco market by selling pouches and canisters of its L&M tobacco in Maine and Michigan, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported July 31.
The roll-your-own tobacco market is relatively small in comparison to traditional cigarettes: consumers bought enough loose tobacco to make about 5 percent of the total number of cigarettes sold in 2008. Still, the market has been growing steadily the past couple of years. In 2008, roll–your-own tobacco sales increased by 17 percent, according to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Sales have increased by 60 percent over the last five years, although they have declined since a new federal tobacco tax went into effect.
As federal and state taxes continue to increase, however, more smokers may turn to roll-your-own tobacco products to save money. Philip Morris is selling pouches with enough roll-your own tobacco to make more than 20 cigarettes for $4 in Maine and Michigan. A pack of cigarettes costs around $6 in these two states.