Switching one cigarette smoker to cigars can provide independents with an additional £250 profit each year, but 49% of retailers aren’t engaging in conversation with their consumers about a wider range of tobacco products.

This is according to Jens Christiansen, head of marketing and public affairs at Scandinavian Tobacco Group UK (STG), who said there is an opportunity for retailers to increase sales in the miniature cigar category, as the sub-category forms 52% of the company's sales.

“Of those smokers who haven’t tried cigars before, 24% would be encouraged to buy them based on taste. However, less than 2% of shoppers feel that a recommendation by their retailer would influence their decision, emphasising a gap in communication, or that retailers are advising consumers about the wrong thing,” he said.

Mr Christiansen added that as taste remains an influencing factor, retailers can use this a key discussion area as a way to build on the 2% figure.

Moreover, as restrictions on pack sizes within the tobacco category have been accompanied by a higher price point for many smokers, research conducted by STG showed that 61% of shoppers now considered price as the greatest influencer on purchase.

“Stocking cigars allows retailers to directly respond to this, with brands like Café Crème offering smaller pack sizes with a lower price,” Mr Christiansen added.

Chris Herring, of Londis Shiphay Post Office in Torquay, said he actively engages with cigarette smokers about the types of cigars he sells.

He added: “It’s important to talk to them because once you gain a cigar customer, you have them for life. You become their destination cigar store.”