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Are tobacco companies’ days numbered? Value investors have long embraced them as consumer staples that are more or less recession proof, but the trickle of regulation governing where you can smoke, and how much those smokes are taxed, has turned into a flood. Yet the big three American firms have managed to increase their profits through price increases, and with Altria announcing that it has decided to follow its two main competitors by entering the market for electronic cigarettes, the prognosis is better than it seems at first blush.