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Bigger smokes

Cigars, once saved just for special occasions and celebrations, have far wider appeal than you might imagine. Research conducted by Censuswide UK on behalf of Scandinavian Tobacco Group UK Limited (STG UK) has found that 59% of male smokers who don't normally smoke cigars would be willing to buy them. The company surveyed 1,000 adults, who smoke daily and also visit their local convenience store at least once a week.

Puffing out profits

Public Health England (PHE) is currently doing its bit for the vaping sector with a new film showing the harm that traditional smoking does to the body and how this can be avoided by switching to an e-cigarette. The film, which has been released as part of PHE's Health Harms campaign to encourage smokers to give up smoking, shows the high levels of cancer-causing chemicals and tar inhaled by an average smoker over a month, compared to not smoking or using an e-cigarette.

Tobacco expertise

The total tobacco category in multiple forecourts is worth over £683m a year, with cigarettes accounting for over £572m-worth of sales (Nielsen data). The multiple forecourt sector has a more premium product mix than the total market, with mid-price products and more expensive ones over-indexing in terms of market share. The number one cigarette brand in multiple forecourts is Sterling, with a 16.2% share. But B&H Blue has been the fastest-growing cigarette brand over the past year and is now the number two best-selling brand in multiple forecourts, with a market share of 10.7%.

Smoking out sales

There's no doubt that fewer people are smoking. In 1974, 46% of adults in Great Britain smoked, now that figure's down to 15.8% (ONS data for 2016), which equates to 7.6 million people. The ONS study found that 15.5% of adults in England smoked; 16.9% in Wales; 17.7% in Scotland; and 18.1% in Northern Ireland. And men smoked, on average, 12 ciggies a day with women smoking slightly less at 11 sticks a day.

Letting the juice loose

The good news is that the UK vaping market is booming worth over £1bn according to Nielsen. The not-so-good news is that sales through traditional retail channels (think supermarkets, convenience stores and forecourts) account for just under £160m of that and Sophie Hogg, head of next-generation products (NGP) at Imperial Tobacco, says they appear to be stalling as consumers gain confidence in the category and purchase via alternate channels such as specialist vape stores and online.

Smoke-free zone

There's no doubting that the UK's drive to eradicate smoking is working. It seems incredible now but in 1974, more than 50% of men and just over 40% of women smoked. Since then a campaign of high taxes on tobacco products and seemingly unrelenting legislation regarding their sales has led to a huge drop in smoking, with the latest figures revealing that 17.7% of men smoke and just 14.1% of women.

All change

As you'll all be aware, it's all change again in the tobacco category as more legislation from EUTPDII and the UK government comes into play. Basically that means that from May 20, you are no longer allowed to sell branded packs of cigarettes or tobacco, or price-marked packs, or the smallest packs think 10 cigarettes and 12.5g of tobacco.

New rules

It's all change in the vaping market as the EUTPD II regulations come into force, meaning only compliant stock can be sold from May 20 onwards. Although this places a burden on forecourt retailers to ensure the products they sell are compliant, the regulations also bring an opportunity, as experts believe the market will change considerably. It's likely there will be fewer products available, as smaller companies cannot afford the investment needed to ensure compliance. This in turn could lead to many vape shops closing and consumers having to get their products elsewhere.

Seeing through the smoke

Are you confident that you and your staff know enough about the changes in the tobacco market to communicate them to any smokers who might ask about them?

Mayday, Mayday

Last year was a momentous one for the tobacco retail trade as all stores went 'dark' and products were hidden away behind closed doors. This year we are expecting the implementation of the European Union Tobacco Products Directive II (EUTPD II) and with it more draconian changes, not least of all the prospect of plain packaging.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 7 October 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East132.48139.21127.90
East Midlands132.19139.59128.21
London132.14141.50128.41
North East131.21141.26127.36
North West131.71139.53127.77
Northern Ireland129.58132.90126.06
Scotland132.33138.59127.78
South East133.0361.80141.15128.72
South West132.2467.90138.71127.76
Wales131.42135.72126.94
West Midlands131.8559.90139.93127.97
Yorkshire & Humber131.60139.59127.83

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