Philip Morris International is struggling to persuade people to stop smoking cigarettes. During quarterly results on Thursday, the tobacco giant highlighted the "more conservative adult smoker" as the problem. In Japan, over-50s are still setting fire to cancer-causing sticks like there is no tomorrow. This has taken Philip Morris by surprise. Its shares fell as much as 18%, their worst decline since it split from Altria in 2008. British American Tobacco and Altria fell in sympathy. Yet Martin King, chief financial officer of Philip Morris, is not quitting. "It just doesn’t make sense" to think they will keep smoking cigarettes, he reassured investors. This is a strange world. In Fahrenheit 451, the firefighters set fire to things. In 2018, cigarette companies battle to get rid of cigarettes and investors punish them when they fail. There is method to the madness. Philip Morris is no longer simply a peddler of Marlboros outside the US (Altria handles the US market). It now has sever...

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