Smokers familiar with their pushers' legendary financial acumen shouldn't be too surprised to get stuck with the tab. But if they cheered at all when Sen. John McCain's $516 billion settlement bill died this year -- largely because of a virulent industry ad campaign that attacked the "tax-and-spend" $1.10 increase -- they ought to be a little peeved that this time the taxes are coming from their own side. Of course that hasn't stopped Philip Morris stock from its steady runup -- in a smoker's blood, nicotine generally wins out over outrage.
NEW YORK: Did you really think tobacco companies were going to foot the bill for that $206 billion payout to the states? Kings-of-smokes Philip Morris and RJR announced Monday that they would be raising cigarette prices by 45 cents a pack. The rest of the Big Five are expected to follow suit -- this despite analysts' calculations that the 25-year settlement could be paid for with increases of only 35 to 40 cents.