The Menthol Ban: your questions answered

Mark Yexley

With the Menthol Ban just around the corner, we put JTI UK Communications Director Mark Yexley in the hot seat to answer questions submitted by local retailers in Scotland.

Mohammed Rajak, Day-Today Bridgeton:
Can you clarify precisely which products the Menthol Ban applies to? We’re getting conflicting advice around whether products like e-liquids and crushball cigarettes are included and it would be great to get some comprehensive, accurate advice.

“I can confirm that only Menthol and Capsule cigarettes are affected, including those with a crushball filter, and the ban only applies to hand-rolling tobacco if it is supplied with mentholated filters or papers in the same product. Cigarillos such as Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped, mentholated e-liquids like those available in the JTI Logic Compact range, or tobacco-free nicotine pouches including Nordic Spirit are not affected by the ban and will therefore still be available.”

Dan Brown, Nisa Pinkie Farm Convenience, Musselburgh:
Where do you think the biggest opportunities lies after the Menthol Ban kicks in? Obviously, a lot of shoppers will shift to plain cigarettes but what other alternative products should retailers be stocking in preparation for the ban? Do you believe products like tobacco-free nicotine pouches and leaf wrapped capsule cigarillos are worth getting behind?

“JTI expects most adult smokers to stay within the cigarette category and remain brand loyal. That’s why we are launching the New Dual range, a distinctive tobacco blend in a unique dual pack, with two sections of ten cigarettes.
“The launches include New Sterling Dual and New Benson & Hedges Blue Dual, and the distinctive blend will also be available in Sterling New SK Green, Benson & Hedges New SK Green, Berkeley New SK Green and Mayfair New Green. In addition, the new Sovereign Dual range also contains a new Flow Tech centre hole in the filter, which provides further differentiation within the market.

“Of course, others will make choices based on their preferences and may seek alternatives. JTI is determined to provide those smokers with innovative new products that meet their needs. We recently launched Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped cigarillos, which contain a peppermint capsule that smokers can click to release a menthol flavour.

“On top of that, we have extended our Logic Compact vaping range to include nine menthol flavours, and our Logic EPIQ e-liquids are available in five menthol flavours. Our Nordic Spirit tobacco-free nicotine pouches are also available in a fresh mint variant, providing yet even more choice.

“Whatever adult smokers do after the menthol ban, JTI has the alternatives covered.”

Shahid Ali, Nisa Mintlaw
With the current confusion caused by the coronavirus pandemic we need all the help we can get from suppliers to help us understand the Menthol Ban and its implications. Do you have any resources we can access to help with that process?

“JTI’s dedicated Menthol Ban microsite contains all the essential information retailers need, as well as FAQs and a comprehensive educational video. Not to mention a number of consumer facing pages which retailers can direct their customers to. We have also recently launched a new interactive training module which retailers and their staff can use to measure how prepared they are.”

Umar Majid, Nisa Bellshill
It’s clear that shoppers don’t really understand the Menthol Ban at all and are not prepared for it. We are trying our best to communicate it to them, but do you have any advice on the best way of educating them as we near the deadline?

“The best thing retailers can do is ensure they and their staff are knowledgeable about the upcoming legislation and aware of the alternative options available to adult smokers from 20 May so that they can answer any questions with confidence. Our dedicated Menthol Ban microsite includes a number of consumer facing pages which retailers can also direct their customers to in order to find out more information.”

Ferhan Ashiq, Day-Today Prestonpans
With the current Covid-19 situation affecting store visits, will I still be able to swap non-compliant stock?

“JTI representatives will exchange Menthol and Capsule stock held by every retailer who our sales reps visit as part of our standard 12-week call cycle. Whilst the current COVID-19 situation is clearly unprecedented, we are determined to continue to support our trade partners through this period of uncertainty.

“Should your local JTI representative not be able to visit your store immediately following the Menthol & Capsule Ban on the 20 May 2020, please ensure that you keep the JTI Menthol and Capsule stock that needs swapping separate from other stock.

“When appropriate to do so, your JTI representative will begin visiting again so please ensure stock has been separated in readiness for their visit. In the meantime, should you require assistance, please contact your JTI representative by phone, visit out trade website JTI Advance or call the Customer Care Line on 0800 163503.”