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Marlboro maker Altria jumping into e-cigarettes

RICHMOND, Va. — Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc. is launching its first electronic cigarette under the MarkTen brand in Indiana starting in August.

The owner of the nation’s biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, announced the details of its NuMark subsidiary’s foray into the fast-growing business on Tuesday.

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating vapor that users inhale.

Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group is the last of the nation’s major tobacco companies to market an electronic cigarette as part of an industrywide push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business.

The company announced plans to enter the market in April but hadn’t provided details on its launch.

At the time, CEO Marty Barrington noted growing consumer interest in the emerging category that’s still small compared with traditional cigarettes.

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