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12/10/2021

Tobacco Companies Hike Cigarette List Prices

Altria is increasing prices 15 cents to 20 cents a pack, while BAT announced a 14-cent increase.
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Cigarettes and money

NATIONAL REPORT — Altria Group Inc. and British American Tobacco (BAT) are increasing their cigarette list prices.

Richmond, Va.-based Altria will take a 15-cent per pack increase on Marlboro, Chesterfield, L&M and Basic Simple Tobacco. In addition, it will take a 20-cent per pack increase on Basic, Benson & Hedges, Benson & Hedges Menthol Green, Merit, Nat's, Parliament, and Virginia Slims, according to Bonnie Herzog, managing director at Goldman Sachs.

The list price changes go into effect on Dec. 12.

In addition to the December changes, Altria increased cigarette list prices 14 cents in January and August, bringing the total hike for the year to 43 cents.  

"The price increase, in our view, does little to address our ongoing concerns related to potential headwinds including the likelihood for greater excise tax increases and stepped-up regulation, difficult comps to lap this year, potential cigarette consumer downtrading, and Altria's need for stepped-up investment spend to pivot its portfolio to a noncombustible future," Herzog said, adding Goldman Sachs expects greater spending behind on! nicotine pouches this year and next.

London-based BAT, the parent company of Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., is raising its cigarette list prices 14 cents, effective Jan. 3.

Citing a Herzog analysis report, the Winston-Salem Journal reported this hike follows a 13-cent per-pack increase on Jan. 28, 14-cent per pack hikes in April and July, and a 15-cent increase in October. In all, Reynolds will have raised its list price by 70 cents within a year for many of its top brands, the news outlet added.

"We continue to expect stepped-up price increases, especially in light of a potential for state and federal excise-tax increases, including a potential doubling of the federal rate on cigarettes to $2.01 per pack," Herzog said.