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Philip Morris Continues Testing Reduced-Risk Cigarettes

NEW YORK -- The U.S. and international divisions of Philip Morris are still testing reduced-risk cigarettes, the CFO of parent company Altria Group said yesterday.

Altria CFO Dinyar Devitre said at Prudential Equity's Back-To-School Conference in Boston that any reduced-risk product would be measured against standards for harm reduction established by the Institute of Medicine.

During the presentation, Devitre said Philip Morris USA plans to test market the cigarette in the second half of this year, but without reduced-risk claims to gauge consumer interest in the product based on other factors such as taste.

The idea behind so-called reduced-risk cigarettes is to eliminate some of the harmful components. Such a product could have fewer carcinogens and other toxins that have been linked to certain illnesses.

Devitre also reviewed several key lawsuits pending against the U.S. tobacco industry such as the Engle case in Florida, the Price "lights" cigarette case in Illinois and the upcoming Department of Justice racketeering suit, which is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 21.
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