Getting ready for the menthol ban with JTI

In part three of a six-part series, Nick Geens, head of Logic and reduced-risk products at JTI, explains how changes in tobacco legislation will affect the vaping category, and how retailers should prepare

Nick Geens, head of reduced-risk products at JTI

Twenty-three per cent of cigarette sales in the UK are from menthol and capsule cigarettes, and with the upcoming menthol ban, retailers need to be prepared.

In just over a month (20 May), all menthol and capsule cigarettes will be banned. In a recent Twitter poll carried out by Better Retailing, 43% of respondents did not know the legal status of menthol accessories after the ban.

Hand-rolling tobacco such, as JTI’s Sterling hand-rolling tobacco, is not affected by the ban, however a menthol accessory can’t be sold in the same pack as hand-rolling tobacco. 

The menthol ban is part of the EUTPD2 legislation, and menthol and capsule accessories (sold separately), Cigarillos such as Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped, vaping products such as Logic Compact, or tobacco-free nicotine pouches such as Nordic Spirit are not affected by the ban. 

“Retailers who prepare well will experience the least disruption to their business,” explains JTI’s head of Logic and reduced-risk products, Nick Geens. 

Talking with your customers to inform them about the ban is vital, as this enables you to recommend alternatives. For this to be successful, it is important retailers train their teams to be confident in answering questions from shoppers as well as to offer the right vape and next-generation products

“To meet the demand from smokers who will be looking for an alternative menthol source, retailers need to make sure their teams are knowledgeable on the subject,” Geens says. 

Training should cover the new products coming to market, like Logic Compact Intense Peppermint. Talk your staff through the different devices and products you offer and inform your team which kits work with different products – this will help your team upsell to customers.

For more information and extensive training modules, retailers should visit JTIAdvance.co.uk or JTI’s new Menthol Ban microsite, JTIAdvance.co.uk/mentholban2020  

For Kirkaldy retailer Asif Akhtar, of Premier Smeaton Stores, keeping up to date on the menthol ban is key to moving his customers on to vaping. “Almost 50% of sales accumulated in store comes from tobacco and vaping, and we have a lot of menthol smokers, so talking to them ensures our sales are maintained,” he explains. 

With 45% of retailers saying in a recent JTI survey that they believe menthol and capsule cigarette smokers will switch to vaping or other reduced-risk products once the ban comes into effect, retailers should review their range, as well as work with sales reps to get the right products in. 

“We’ve been talking to our customers for months,” explains Akhtar. “We asked reps lots of questions, as well as looked to trade press and social media, and now I feel my shoppers are ready for the ban. If they haven’t switched yet, they are on the way to doing so.”


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