January 6, 2020
In the first installment of his new regular column for Vape Business, Amrit Singh Pahal explains why every retailer needs to be preparing for the ban on menthol cigarettes in May.
In my view the menthol ban is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities of 2020! The date is 20th May 2020 and I personally find it incredible that huge amounts of retailers are seemingly unaware of this huge industry change. According to the ACS retailer guidance, there will be no sell-through period and selling any menthol cigarettes after this date will actually be illegal. This change obviously impacts the market but industry innovation has already started to paint a vague picture of how people will be able to get menthol tasting cigarettes post May! For example, Imperial Tobacco have launched Rizla Flavour Infusions. These are “flavour cards” that you insert into your box of cigarettes or roll-your-own pouch, leave for an hour and allow to infuse the tobacco with a menthol flavour. This in itself will be a profit-making opportunity, but I believe the bigger opportunity is in your gantry space! With menthol cigarettes leaving the gantry, there will be no need to give them any space, thus leaving a lot of room to sell more profitable products! Most stores selling tobacco traditionally have their gantry in the
perfect selling-space right behind the counter in prime viewing position for the customer. Since the doors have been on (by law), that space has basically been void. My plan is to have a draw solution fitted and have an LED back-light premium spirits display above the draws. As many of you may know I have a 4.5m vape store in my shop, so traditionally where I would’ve had a vape display in this space I’m adding something different by having premium spirits. I cannot stress enough that the menthol ban will be a massive change in our industry and I strongly believe consumers aren’t aware as much as they need to be either. I personally have planned for the ban by having the vape store added by Aquavape last October.
Amrit Singh Pahal runs Nisa Local High Heath in Walsall and was named Vape Business of the Year 2019 at the Vape Business Awards.