Altria's 'Safer' Smokes Latest in Line of Flops
Marlboro Ultra Smooth can't beat declining demand in 3-year test
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2008 2:47 PM CDT
The new Corporate headquarters sign of Altria in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, April 23, 2008. Altria is expected to release it's quarterly earnings Thursday.    (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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(Newser) – Altria is dropping its Marlboro Ultra Smooth cigarettes, the Wall Street Journal reports—the latest in a growing list of failures to sell Americans on so-called "safer" tobacco products. The cigarettes, which used special filters to block carcinogens, failed to attract consumer interest in a 3-year test, "presumably because they didn't think the taste and flavor was acceptable," says a spokesman for the Philip Morris parent company.

Philip Morris USA saw sales fall 4.6% last year, in an American market off by 4% overall. Altria—which in 2006 stopped development of a battery-powered cigarette holder—has also been working smokeless tobacco products to cushion the blow of continued decline in the cigarette market. One such "spit free" product has been shelved; another—so-called moist snuff—is in test-marketing phase.