With the menthol ban just under a week away, a study by JTI has revealed that 52% of retailers expect smokers to remain brand loyal within the traditional cigarette category.
Other findings show that 31% of retailers believe that smokers 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 traditional cigarette category (52% verses 25%), and fewer assuming smokers will switch to vaping (31% verses 45%), RYO or quit.
Mark Yexley, communications director at JTI UK, said: “The results highlight the need for retailers and their staff to be knowledgeable about all of the products available once the menthol ban is in effect. Our new dual range, for example, including 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 adult smokers we have several other alternatives, including: Sterling Dual Leaf Wrapped cigarillos; the Logic vaping range; and Nordic Spirit, our tobacco-free nicotine pouch.”
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 continued: “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 support and guidance for retailers across the UK, helping them to get to grips with what’s to come.”