With the Menthol and Capsule Cigarette Ban just days away on May 20, a study conducted by JTI has revealed what retailers expect current menthol and capsule smokers to do once the legislation comes into effect.

The survey found that over half (52%) of retailers expect smokers to remain brand loyal within the ready-made cigarette (RMC) category; 31% believe their customers will switch to vaping or other reduced risk products; 11% think they will switch to roll your own (RYO); and just 6% expect smokers to quit the category altogether.

The results show a significant shift in thinking among retailers compared to a previous survey carried out by JTI earlier in the year, with 27% more retailers now believing that their customers will remain brand loyal within the RMC category (52% vs 25%) and fewer assuming smokers will switch to vaping (31% vs 45%), RYO or quit.

Mark Yexley, communications director at JTI UK, commented: “The results highlight the need for retailers and their staff to be knowledgeable about all of the products available once the ban is in effect. Our ‘New Dual’ range, for example, including popular brands such as Sterling New Dual and Benson & Hedges New Blue Dual, will cater to the needs of existing smokers who retailers believe will remain brand loyal.

“Of course, others will make their own individual choices, and for those smokers we have several other alternatives including; Sterling Dual Leaf Wrapped cigarillos; the Logic vaping range; and Nordic Spirit, our tobacco-free nicotine pouch. Whatever smokers do after the Menthol Ban, JTI has the alternatives covered.”

The initial survey carried out by JTI in February this year also highlighted the need for further education and additional support for retailers on the specifics of the legislation. The recent findings paint a more positive picture with 89% of retailers surveyed now feeling fully prepared for the upcoming legislation.

Yexley added: “Our research shows that since its launch back in February, JTI’s dedicated Menthol Ban microsite and educational material sent directly to stores has provided much needed support and guidance for retailers across the UK, helping them to get to grips with what’s to come. Findings also indicate that the JTI salesforce has been instrumental in helping retailers navigate the changes and informing them of the alternative products available once the ban is in effect.”

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