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    Cigarette Prices Rise

    Philip Morris increases packs 12 cents.

    NEW YORK -- Philip Morris Cos. Inc.'s, maker of the top-selling Marlboro brand, hiked the price it charges retailers by 12 cents per pack yesterday, a move expected to be matched by other U.S. cigarette makers.

    The increase comes about five months after a climb of 5 cents per pack the company led in October 2001.

    Analysts had widely anticipated the move, but some said they had expected a slightly smaller rise, according to Reuters. Philip Morris U.S.A., the top U.S. cigarette maker, said it announced the increase to retailers on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

    The change increases prices by $6 per 1,000 cigarettes, which breaks down to 12 cents per pack. Retail prices consumers pay for their cigarettes are set by retailers, not by the company. Prices consumers pay also vary depending on local taxes.

    The price increase made sense since Philip Morris "generally takes an increase after it completes a big promotion," and one promotion ended at the end of March, Credit Suisse First Boston analyst Bonnie Herzog said.

    Philip Morris declined to comment on the report.

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