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I was torn the other day in my position as a small shareholder in British American Tobacco (BAT) and as the custodian of my elderly mother’s small fortune.

I was in a retail establishment, which must stay nameless, where I spied a rather crudely designed box of cigarettes selling for R10 for a box of twenties. That’s a big difference in price compared to my mother’s favourite puffs — which range from Kent to Pall Mall — that cost roughly four times that. This “price discovery” comes after, in a moment of morbid inquisitiveness, I did a rough calculation of what my mother’s long-held smoking habit had cost over five years. The number was alarmingly large and equal, I worked out, to about 165 BAT shares. ..

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