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SCOTT JAGOW: Today’s the 30th Great American Smokeout. People are encouraged to quit smoking for at least 24 hours. Tobacco companies have lost a lot of customers over the past three decades. But as Alisa Roth reports, the industry isn’t in the ashtray just yet.
ALISA ROTH: It’s not what you’d call a growth market in the U.S., but about 1 in 5 Americans still smokes.
And Morningstar analyst Greg Warren says it’ll likely stay that way for awhile.
GREG WARREN: The information’s already out there. People know smoking is bad for you.
He means that people who smoke know the risks and don’t care.
The developing world is where the growth is, and Altria — a company you might remember as Philip Morris — has a major presence overseas.
In the U.S., Warren says, tobacco companies are managing to hang on by upping their prices.
WARREN: So even though volumes were declining, you know, sales were actually staying flat or in some cases slightly positive.
And, he says, they’re starting to look at alternative forms of tobacco where the market is still growing, mostly in the stuff you chew.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
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