Scandinavian Tobacco Group has launched a low-price thick-cut tobacco which retailers have said appeals to roll-your-own smokers.

Blue RidgeThe group’s recently-launched Blue Ridge tobacco has become one of its fastest-growing products, according to a promotional letter sent to retailers in Premier’s development group.

The letter does not mention the product is pipe tobacco but highlights the 20g size, the “low out of pocket price” of £4.49 and that it is “compliant with EUTPD II legislation”.

Steve Archer, who owns three Premier Stores in Cheshire and Staffordshire, was one of the retailers to receive a free sleeve of Blue Ridge packs.

“Some retailers in Scotland have successfully found a market among price-sensitive students who roll their own cigarettes,” he said.

Pipe tobacco, defined by a cut of 1.5mm or wider, is exempt from the plain packaging
and pack size regulations introduced last year.

A tobacco legal expert told RN there is nothing preventing retailers offering it as an alternative to roll your own tobacco. But HMRC guidance said pipe tobacco used to make hand-rolled cigarettes could incur extra duty, even if it is sold by retailers as pipe tobacco.

STG declined to comment on whether sales of Blue Ridge were being driven by rolling tobacco customers.