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RICHMOND, Va. -- Altria Group Inc., parent company to the largest cigarette maker in the U.S., Philip Morris USA (PM USA), recently discontinued its Marlboro Ultra Smooth product, which showcases the challenges the manufacturer faces in an environment where cigarette sales are declining, The Wall Street Journal reported.
"We basically conducted tests in these markets and generally learned that there was low consumer acceptance, presumably because they didn't think the taste and flavors was acceptable," Altria spokesman Brendan McCormick told the Journal.
The line extension features a high-technology filter using activated carbon to deliver nicotine with potentially less exposure to carcinogens than traditional cigarettes, and the company had hoped to market the product as a reduced-risk cigarette, according to the report. PM USA's sales volume fell 4.6 percent last year, which was steeper than the 4 percent decline in the overall U.s. cigarette market, the Journal reported.
Marlboro Ultra Smooth was sold in Atlanta; Tampa, Fla.; and Salt Lake City for more than three years, the report stated. As of April 1, PM USA halted shipments to its wholesalers, but remaining stock is still available at
retail. In addition, other lines with the high-tech filters, including the Marlboro Ultra Lights in Phoenix and North Dakota, as well as Basic Ultra Lights in Washington, were also discontinued, according to the newspaper.