Philip Morris took out full page advertisements in national papers to pledge that it “would try to give up cigarettes” in 2018.

The notices in the Daily Mirror, The Sun and The Times said the tobacco manufacturer will try and persuade the UK’s 7.6million smokers to quit outright, but will promote tobacco replacement products for those who struggle to do so.

It lists four ways it plans to achieve this goal.

These were launching a website with information on quitting and cigarette alternatives, offering support to local authorities with high smoking rates, trying to persuade the government to allow quitting and switching information inside cigarette packs and expanding the availability of new, alternative products in the UK.

Some retailers expressed alarm as to how their sales would be affected. Stephen Hunter from Old Road News in Bradford commented: “Happy New Year everyone. Shall we just prepare to close down in 2018? We aren’t going to have much to sell soon.”

Asked what the changes mean for convenience stores, PMI corporate affairs director Mark MacGregor told Retail Express:  “We believe that retailers have a vital role to play in helping adult smokers switch away from cigarettes to alternatives like e-cigarettes and IQOS, our heat-not-burn device.  

Already, our e-cigarettes and heated tobacco sticks, Heets, are sold by retailers across the UK.  As our company transforms towards a smoke free future, this will also give retailers new opportunities. ”

Do it: Want to improve the e-cigarette offering in your store? Call Retail Express on 020 7689 3371