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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.

Vaper money

The last time Forecourt Trader ran an in-depth piece on e-cigarettes just a few months ago an expert independent review had concluded that e-cigs were less harmful than tobacco. As this article was being written, scientists had said e-cigs may be no better than their tobacco counterparts. However, their tests were in labs and the scientists said the results might not be the same in real people. The 'are they or aren't they harmful?' argument will likely run for years, but in the meantime tobacco smokers who want to give up the hard stuff continue to turn to e-cigs.

Vape crusaders

The e-cig industry must have been collectively jumping for joy last month after an expert independent review concluded that e-cigs were around 95% less harmful than tobacco and had the potential to help smokers quit.

Hidden strengths

The tobacco gantry at Askern Service Station in Doncaster 'went dark' at the end of February, well ahead of the official start date of April 6. Site manager, Richard Nixon, says everyone was well prepared. "Staff were well briefed so they knew all about the legislation and could tell customers if they asked about it," he explains, "but to be fair, 90% of our customers had seen the changes in the supermarkets so we didn't get a lot of resistance.

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Weekly retail fuel prices: 16 September 2019
RegionDieselLPGSuper ULUL
East131.91139.09127.72
East Midlands131.7067.90141.05127.78
London131.23140.26128.23
North East130.27143.10126.88
North West131.0561.90140.46127.66
Northern Ireland128.98134.61125.56
Scotland131.5452.70138.78127.59
South East132.3555.20140.48128.43
South West131.4959.90138.93127.63
Wales130.6864.90135.93126.92
West Midlands131.2068.90139.66127.86
Yorkshire & Humber130.9084.90142.07127.66

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