Despite strict regulations dictating how tobacco products are sold in UK retail outlets, tobacco remains a key part of convenience stores’ offering, with four out of five independent retailers acknowledging its contribution to the success of their business.

bill-new-greyThis continued demand feeds through to the wholesale sector, with cash and carries and delivered wholesalers well placed to profit from sales of tobacco and smokers’ requisites, and also of e-cigarettes, the fast growing product category targeting smokers who are trying to give up but still want their nicotine fix.

The penalties are tough for independent retailers caught selling illegally imported tobacco products, but there’s a limit to how much advice a cash and carry or delivered wholesaler can give customers. So ‘EX-IT,’ Philip Morris Ltd’s National Field Force’s nationwide educational programme for independent retailers, is a timely contribution.

Another welcome move detailed in these pages is Imperial Tobacco’s ‘Partnering for Success’ initiative, which includes a video accessible on ITL’s website about EU TPD II, the EU Tobacco Products Directive and how the impending legislation is likely to affect the tobacco category.

In other news from ITL, its JPS Crushball has replaced JPS Duo.

The crushball sector continues to grow and now accounts for 1 in 10 factory made cigarettes sold in the UK.

Roll your own tobacco and the brands involved have a long established connection with adult smokers. ITL’s Golden Virginia has a history going back to 1877 and is now available in a limited edition tin echoing its heritage.

Swan is another iconic brand with strong hand rolling connections. Now part of Republic Technologies, the tobacco accessories supplier whose other brands include ZIG-ZAG and OCB, this spring sees Swan introducing more choice to the filters market with its first ‘Eco’ Swan filter.

On the e-cigs front Blu, the UK’s number two e-cigarette brand, which is part of ITL, has launched a product and packaging upgrade for its closed system e-cigarettes, providing significant technology upgrades and extended battery life.

As reported in our recent ‘Vaping’ feature, growing numbers of cigarette smokers are turning to e-cigarettes in their attempt to quit smoking. They include a group of former smokers who want to give up the habit but do so in a stylish way, which has given rise to the development of the vaping culture. You can read more about vaping in our January-February issue, available on our website. This includes how the forthcoming EU Tobacco Products Directive, as mentioned above, will affect ecigarette sales.

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