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Helping customers quit smoking

December 8, 2022

Photo: iStock

As the time for New Year resolutions draws near again, promoting vapes in store is a winner 

ALONG with April and October, when the VApril and Stoptober campaigns run respectively, January offers retailers another opportunity to promote their vape ranges to smokers who would be trying to ditch the habit as part of the New Year resolutions.

Research has shown that if you quit for 28 days, you’re five times more likely to quit for good and the New Year provides brands and retailers a month-long opportunity to promote their reduced risk alternatives.Sitting at the heart of the communities, independent stores can particularly play a significant role in helping smokers quit, which also provides for a great marketing opportunity of their vaping products.

“The race to switch adult smokers to alternative products between convenience retailers and large multiples, or the speed by which manufacturers and their brands are developing and commercialising the most innovative products to meet growing demand – everyone, it seems, is feeling the heat,” comments Kate O’Dowd, head of commercial planning UK & Ireland at Philip Morris Limited (PML).

“We can see from the data how this competition is shifting the landscape, by challenging the dominance of traditional categories and accelerating the pace of change.”

Photo: iStock

She cites the example of heat-not-burn products, a relative newcomer to the UK market, which is growing at over twice the speed of the e-cigarettes. According to the figures from Nielsen IQ, heated tobacco category has grown by 87.2 per cent and e-cigarettes at 36.8 per cent MAT to 01.01.22.

“Far more importantly, we see a category eating into the market share of cigarettes and other combustible products. HEETS, tobacco sticks designed for exclusive use with IQOS, the UK’s number one heat-not-burn product, account for more than 6 per cent market share of the total industry sales volume for heated tobacco unitsand cigarette sales in London,” O’Dowd adds.

“This is the real upshot of increased competition in the smoke-free category; not so much pitting products against each other, but rather providing smokers with a greater choice of alternatives that enables them to switch away from cigarettes, if they can’t or won’t quit completely.”

Meanwhile, the heated tobacco category itself is set for increased competition, with JTI last month unveiling Ploom X, a new heated tobacco device featuring upgraded technology to enhance the customer experience.

“We estimate that the category will be worth £250 million by 2025, with 66 per cent of consumers buying through traditional retail,” Mark McGuinness, marketing director at JTI, said at the time of launch.

“So, there is really no better time to expand and upgrade our portfolio with Ploom X. This is just another step in the evolution of the Ploom brand, with improved technology that offers a truly unique experience for customers. We’re looking forward to providing retailers with the opportunity to capitalise on the category, which is already worth £91 million in traditional retail.”

Working together

O’Dowd says retailers are ready to overlook the competition to achieve the smoke-free goal. A recent study of more than 1,400 convenience retailers, commissioned by PML, has found that over two thirds would look beyond local competition and work together to help their community go smoke-free.

“Competition can be a fantastic driver – even more so if the efforts involved lead to something meaningful, such as delivering a smoke-free future. With manufacturers bringing better products to market and more retailers than ever before broadening their smoke-free offering, I truly believe we can help millions of adult smokers make a better choice,” she comments.

PML has recently commenced the roll-out of IQOS Originals Duo, a revamped and renamed version of IQOS 3 Duoto indirect retail channels in the UK. Fully compatible with existing Heets tobacco sticks, IQOS Originals Duo will begin replacing IQOS 3 Duo, with no buy-back or product swapping necessary. The new stock will filter through naturally, although retailers will be able to order the new kits via PML’s Digital Trade Engagement Platform from December.

With an RRP of £39, IQOS Originals Duo will be sold as a kit, consisting of the iconic two-piece device – with a compact and lightweight holder – and two packs of Heets.

Over at the disposables category, where new product innovations are driving the phenomenal growth rates, manufacturers are increasingly focusing at the potential to switch smokers from tobacco.

Leading disposable vape manufacturer Geek Bar has made its E600 range even more appealing to UK vapers with a significant upgrade to include the latest mesh coil technology.

The revamped version of the entry-level E600, itself a smaller, lighter successor to the original Geek Bar, will be on sale in convenience stores after Christmas.They are designed for mouth-to-lung vapers in particular, who want to replicate the experience of smoking through a consistent throat hit.

“The E600 already shares the new, soft mouthpiece seen in more sophisticated Geek Bar products while being cheaper to buy at arecommended retail price of £4.99,” a spokesperson for the brand said.

“The lower price point may also help to persuade people to adopt vaping as an alternative to smoking tobacco, particularly at a time when incomes are being squeezed.”

And, Nebulos MOODBAR disposables are launching three new nicotine flavours and are offering a 5 per cent discount for retailers when they order a counter top display.

“January is a great time for smokers to look to make the switch entering the New Year,” Liam McGreevy, chief executive, says.

“MOODBAR vapes are here to help smokers stop smoking for good with our discreet disposables aimed not to appeal to minors. Our counter top display units offer great exposure and we want retailers to benefit from a 5 per cent discount when opting for this option.”

With disposables dominating sales within the booming vape category, tobacco majors are also taking note, with Imperial entering the market with its new blu bar vape range.

Rolled out into the convenience channel from the end of November, the range comprises a quality collection of disposable and ready-to-use vape products with a compact pocket size design. Available to buy at a MRRP of £5.99 per device, each blu bar features bright and vibrant bursts of colour, both on the device and on the pack to create great standout on the shelf and help with range navigation in store.

Imperial will be supporting the launch with a special Profit on Return deal of up to 43 per cent at wholesalers, as well as through a new dedicated blu bar trade microsite, which will launch on 3 January.