OK, so the new year is here, and I bet you've made some resolutions. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds or start visiting the gym more often. Well, if you're a smoker who's looking to improve his or her health, Altria
In fact, Altria is seeking the Food and Drug Administration's blessing of a health strategy promoting a move from traditional cigarettes to smokeless tobacco for smokers who have a tough time quitting.
Yep, part of the FDA's increased control of the tobacco industry via the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is to find ways to cut tobacco-based health issues, and Altria (via its Philip Morris USA and UST operating divisions) is arguing that smokeless tobacco is one way to mitigate this risk.
Hey, at least this is one thing that Altria and Reynolds American
I've got to say that I'm not sure how much benefit Altria or Reynolds would see in labeling smokeless tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes. In the U.S., male smokers outnumber female smokers, but it's hard to think that the 18.3% of American women who do smoke would consider moving to the messier smokeless product. Men who have a tough time quitting smoking may consider the switch to improve their health, but I'm not sure that these would be huge numbers. Instead, I'd think that the Vector Group
As an aside, Reynolds American and Lorillard
And it's not like U.S.-based tobacco companies are alone in their strife; things aren't getting easier for global tobacco producers. British American Tobacco
All in all, it should be an interesting year for both American and international tobacco companies looking to navigate through increased government intervention and taxes. For 2010, investors can resolve themselves to watch the economy and dynamic regulatory framework for points to enter this high-dividend industry.
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