Altria Expands Marlboro NXT, Preps for E-Cigarette Entry

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Altria Expands Marlboro NXT, Preps for E-Cigarette Entry


RICHMOND, Va. -- The Altria Group Inc. continues to look beyond the traditional cigarette segment with its expansion of Marlboro NXT and the introduction of its MarkTen electronic cigarette.

During the company's second-quarter and first-half 2013 earnings call this morning, Chairman and CEO Marty Barrington revealed that Marlboro NXT rolled out to an additional 23 states this month, primarily in the eastern United States. Marlboro NXT, which is a line extension of Philip Morris USA's Marlboro Black, features a crushable menthol capsule. The product made its debut in two regions last fall.

"It has been very well received and is a nice addition to the Marlboro Black family," he noted.

Barrington also reported that plans for MarkTen's introduction into Indiana next month are on track. While Altria's subsidiary Nu Mark is still firming up marketing plans for the electronic cigarette, adult smokers and adult vapers (e-cigarette users) remain the product's target and the marketing campaign will reflect that, he explained.

Although Altria is the last of the big three tobacco companies -- along with Lorillard Inc. and Reynolds American Inc. -- to enter the electronic cigarette category, Barrington said he is confident the company will be successful in getting MarkTen to consumers. Noting e-cigarettes are still in their "early days," he said it will be "a long game."

Looking ahead, the second half of this year is sure to keep Altria busy. In addition to the company's Marlboro NXT and MarkTen plans, Altria will expand distribution of Verve, a tobacco-less nicotine disc, to 1,200 stores in Virginia in September, according to Barrington.