Retailers believe most smokers will remain brand loyal post Menthol Ban

Menthol ban 2020

With the Menthol and Capsule Cigarette Ban looming, a JTI study has revealed what retailers expect current menthol and capsule smokers to do once the legislation comes into effect on 20 May.

The survey found over half (52%) of retailers expect adult smokers to remain brand loyal within the ready-made cigarette (RMC) category; 31% believe their customers will switch to vaping or other reduced risk products; 11% think they will switch to roll-your-own (RYO); and just 6% expect adult smokers to quit the category altogether.

The results show a significant shift in thinking amongst retailers compared to a previous survey carried out by JTI earlier in the year, with 27% more retailers now believing their customers will remain brand loyal within the RMC category (52% vs 25%) and fewer assuming smokers will switch to vaping (31% vs 45%), RYO or quit.

Mark Yexley, Communications Director at JTI UK, commented: “The results highlight the need for retailers and their staff to be knowledgeable about all of the products available once the ban is in effect. Our ‘New Dual’ range, for example, including popular brands such as Sterling New Dual and Benson & Hedges New Blue Dual, will cater to the needs of existing adult 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. Whatever adult smokers do after the Menthol Ban, JTI has the alternatives covered.”

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.

JTI provided guidance and POS material to retailers to help them prepare for the ban; 98% of retailers expressed a positive sentiment regarding this, with most of those surveyed rating it as excellent.

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 much needed support and guidance for retailers across the UK, helping them to get to grips with what’s to come. Findings also indicate that the JTI salesforce has been instrumental in helping retailers navigate the changes and informing them of the alternative products available once the ban is in effect.”

JTI said its Advance microsite and sales reps will continue to play a key role beyond 20 May.

For more information retailers should contact their rep, visit JTI’s dedicated microsite, or call the Customer Care Line on 0800 163503.