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Tobacco Manufacturer Moving Overseas to Avoid Regulation

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On August 30, 2007, Altria Group announced that it was spinning off Philip Morris International and will be moving that division to Lausanne, Switzerland. Philip Morris USA will remain a division of Altria.

Big Tobacco is facing a backlash in the United States from consumers and regulators who are fed up with renegade marketing and sales tactics to expand its market as the cigarette manufacturers’ oldest and most loyal customers are dying – often from smoking-related illnesses such as lung cancer, emphysema, head and neck cancers, heart attacks, and strokes. The Associated Press report noted:

The spinoff is designed to give the overseas maker of Marlboros and other cigarette brands more freedom to pursue sales growth in emerging markets, and some antitobacco critics have said that gives it the chance to unleash its marketing on non-smoking women and children in poor, developing countries.

Financial analysts lauded the spinoff which should help Philip Morris International expand its international presence. In 2006, Philip Morris International sold 831 billion cigarettes overseas in 160 countries with revenues of $48.26 billion and a 15.4% share of the global market.