British American Tobacco , the world's No 2 cigarette maker, raised its prices to see sales in the first nine months of 2011 increase 7 percent on Wednesday and offset a decline in volumes as smokers continue to suffer in the downturn.

The London-based maker of Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes said price rises together with the weak pound would help it see another year of good earnings growth.

The group reported nine-month underlying cigarette volumes were down 0.4 percent, slightly better than a one percent fall in the first six months of 2011.

(Reporting by David Jones)