Big Tobacco Sparks Cigarette Price Hike

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NEW YORK: The country's largest cigarette makers raised wholesale cigarette prices nearly 8 percent Yesterday, the New York Times reports. The price increase, which translates to about seven cents per pack, will help manufacturers reimburse a number of states for smoking-related health expenditure. The increase is likely to net the industry nearly $1.6 billion over the next year.

Analysts reckon the change is intended to discourage wholesalers from loading up their inventories because once those state costs are covered, the industry plans a really, really big increase to finance the proposed $368.5 billion national settlement currently being scrutinized by Congress and the White House.