JTI is launching an initiative to support retailers ahead of the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2) legislation, in the week it claimed to be the number one tobacco manufacturer in the UK.

With the launch of ‘Your Guide Through Change’, retailers have a source of advice that offers reassurance and clear, practical steps to ensure they continue to profit from the tobacco category.

The comprehensive communications plan will see JTI provide online training modules, educational videos and easy-to-read information packs, all available through JTI Advance.

Retailers can also take advantage of JTI’s upskilled sales force, who have had extra training to enable them to deliver expert category management advice and support.

Jeremy Blackburn, JTI head of communications, commented: “With the launch of Your Guide Through Change we begin a programme of ongoing communications for retailers. While every shopkeeper that sells tobacco will need to be prepared, for now it’s business as usual. Our advice for the time being is – use the principles of ARTIST, with a particular focus on availability and range to manage the category successfully.

“JTI’s position as the UK’s No.1 tobacco company is underpinned by our great partnerships with retailers and collaborative trade relationships. By following Your Guide Through Change and working with JTI, retailers will have the best possible support through the changes ahead.”

From May 2016 tobacco manufacturers will have to start making the new packs, however retailers have until May 2017 to sell through the current packs. After this, changes will include a ban on cigarette packs smaller than 20 and packs of RYO less than 30g. Flavoured cigarettes will also be banded although menthol cigarettes will be allowed until May 2020.

In addition, the UK government has passed plain packaging legislation which means retailers will not be permitted to sell branded tobacco products from May 2017.

As the new guidance was launched, JTI said Nielsen’s Market Track December 2015 – combined cigarettes and RYO volume (RYO converted at 0.4g per stick) showed it had a 42.5% of the £15bn UK tobacco market, making it the biggest manufacturer.

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