The changes in tobacco law due to come into force next year could present a huge opportunity for retailers to drive sales of their cigars.

According to Andy Swain, national sales manager for Ritmeester, cigars and cigarillos will still be able to be sold in their current pack sizes and will remain unaffected by standardised packaging.

“The Tobacco Products Directive is an opportunity and the potential could be huge,” he told Retail Express. “Cigars would become the cheapest products on shelf overnight, whereas the cheapest cigarettes will be more than £7.”

The definition of a cigarette is changing next year to include any product that has a separate filter. Cigarillo products will need only minor changes to avoid falling under this new definition.

Swain said the manufacturer will be working with the 4,000 retailers that already stock Ritmeester products, educating them and raising awareness.

“We’re looking at doing sessions with 250 retailers next year, including a presentation on the cigar category,” he added. “Cigars is such an overlooked category. It’s profitable and it has a loyal customer base.”