Mitt Romney’s Bain Helped Philip Morris Get U.S. High Schoolers Hooked On Cigarettes

WASHINGTON — When Mitt Romney served as CEO of Bain & Co., his consulting firm helped tobacco giant Philip Morris develop a groundbreaking sales strategy that researchers say has been linked to an unprecedented spike in youth smoking.

On Friday April 2, 1993, Philip Morris stunned Wall Street and tobacco experts by the slashing price on its flagship Marlboro brand by 40 cents a pack, to $1.80. It was a landmark day for the tobacco industry, one that became known as “Marlboro Friday” to public health experts.

The radical move was deemed by top Philip Morris executives as necessary based in part on more than two years of Bain research. Marlboro sales were slumping amid pressure from an expanding discount cigarette market, and the prospect of higher cigarette taxes had the company concerned about long-term profitability.

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