A Lucky Strike For U.S. Smokes

TRADE DEFICIT? NOT FOR THE tobacco industry. U.S. cigarette output rose 10% in 1994, to 726 billion--the most since 1981--thanks largely to a trade surplus that ballooned by 45% from the year before, says the Agriculture Dept. Sales are surging in Eastern Europe, where the quality-starved masses finally can afford Marlboros--and pay with solid currencies. And in the U.S., smoking diehards, charmed by lower prices, have ignored the antismoking crusade: Domestic demand stabilized in 1994 after 10 consecutive years of decline.

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