Altria’s Cigarette Addiction Is Becoming Unhealthier

For years tobacco companies have been fighting regulators more than each other. That might be about to change, and Altria in particular needs a game plan.

If Philip Morris International’s $16 billion offer for oral nicotine pouch maker Swedish Match is accepted, US cigarette makers will suddenly have a nimble new competitor. Soon after it was spun out by Marlboro co-owner Altria in 2008 to focus on overseas markets, a slowdown in international cigarette volume forced Philip Morris to innovate in smokeless products. Since 2014, the company has built IQOS from scratch—a noncombustible heated-tobacco brand that now generates $9 billion in annual revenue.

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