Philip Morris USA is raising prices again..

February 6, 2009 - Philip Morris USA (PM) is raising prices on Marlboro and other cigarettes by about 9 cents per pack next week, with some of its smaller brands getting an 18-cent-per-pack increase, the company said on Thursday. PM, the largest U.S. cigarette maker, said it told trade partners about the plan on Wednesday. The new list prices go into effect on February 9, 2009. The company, which is owned by Altria Group Inc, said the increases stem from its periodic evaluation of its pricing strategies.

PM is raising list prices by 90 cents per carton, or 9 cents per pack, on Marlboro and other brands such as Basic, Parliament and Virginia Slims. It is raising the price of brands such as Benson & Hedges, Chesterfield, Lark and Merit by $1.80 per carton, or 18 cents per pack.

Goldman Sachs analyst Judy Hong called the increases "relatively modest" and said she expects a larger increase to come in the future due to the anticipated 61-cent federal excise tax increase in April to fund the SCHIP program - health care for kids. Hong, who has a "neutral" view on Altria and the tobacco sector, said she expects Reynolds American Inc and Lorillard Inc to follow with similar price adjustments.

Reference: Philip Morris USA raises cigarette prices, Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Dave Zimmerman, Reuters UK, 2/5/2009.

The additional cost of tobacco will create an additional burden on the poor or low-income - the people that do most of the smoking. Maybe it's time to consider quitting and use the money to better care for their families. -