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Seizing Smokeless Opportunities

Convenience store operators are enjoying the growing popularity of smokeless tobacco products, but they are also being forced to keep a wary eye on federal and local regulations. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor Is the smokeless tobacco product category, which includes moist snuff, snus and dissolvables, the lifeboat that convenience store retailers hope it will

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FDA Scrutiny Clouds Cigar Outlook

While flavored and pre-priced cigar sales are booming, FDA’s pending regulation of the category could upset trends and profits. by Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Tedeschi Food Shops does a strong cigar business, and with 3-4 feet of space reserved for cigars on the back bar, consumers take notice. Sales on cigars were up for the

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Leveling The RYO Playing Field

In recent years, roll-your-own tobacco machines have surfaced at various retail locations putting convenience stores at a competitive disadvantage on price. By Howard Riell, Associate Editor America, and in particular its lawmakers, remains caught in a love-hate relationship with tobacco. That push-pull has resulted in very well-publicized attempts to dissuade Americans from using tobacco, or

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E-Tobacco Shows No Signs of Slowing

Although the electronic cigarette category in the U.S. is barely five years old, a dizzying number of brands are vying for the attention of retailers—and more are entering the fray just about every day. By Marilyn Odesser-Torpey, Associate Editor In a report released in May, UBS Investment Research likened the chaotic e-cigarette category to the e-commerce

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Understanding Today’s Tobacco Customers

MSA and Paradigm Sample, in partnership with Convenience Store Decisions, examine the purchasing habits of adult tobacco consumers at U.S. convenience stores. By Trish Temmerman, Management Science Associates, and John Lofstock, Editor. The tobacco industry continues to face challenges on multiple fronts, namely ongoing legislative initiatives and the ever-present high rate of taxation. These persistent

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Decoding Haverstraw’s Questionable Tobacco Display Ban

With various federal laws banning or limiting certain cigarette product advertising, cigarette packaging itself has become a commercially accepted form of advertising. By John Lofstock, Editor. In early April, the Village of Haverstraw, N.Y., adopted a first-of-its-kind ordinance in the U.S. that requires retailers to keep tobacco out of public view. To learn more about

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Dispelling the Myths of Tobacco Control

A response to the recent misleading “Deadly Alliance” report implicating convenience stores. By Seth A. Mailhot, Special Counsel, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. This is the first of what will be a continuing series on the regulation of tobacco retailing. In future articles, I will address the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) regulation

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GAO Suggests Equalizing Tobacco Tax Rates

A new report finds shift in using pipe versus roll-your-own tobacco and large cigars versus small cigars to avoid hefty taxes. This week, the federal Government Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report titled “Large Disparities in Rates for Smoking Products Trigger Significant Market Shifts to Avoid Higher Taxes.” The document shows the impact of the

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Redrawing the Battle Lines

Separating nicotine from cigarettes and smoking could open new doors for tobacco. By Lou Maiellano. Imagine a natural ingredient so promising and intriguing that it is being clinically evaluated to address a variety of illnesses and conditions, including depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Tourette syndrome, ADHD, anger management and anxiety. Think about it, an ingredient that would

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Lawmakers Targeting Electronic Cigarettes

As their popularity soars in convenience stores, e-cigs are becoming the target of new smoking bans and tax regulations. By Erin Rigik, Associate Editor. Once speculated to be a passing fad, e-cigarettes are increasing in sales and popularity and pushing their way toward becoming a mainstream product. Celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Britney Spears have

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FIN Electronic Cigarettes Launches Nationwide Ad Campaign

“With these ads, we definitely want to evoke memories of a time when smokers were not literally kicked to the curb,” says chief branding officer for Finiti Branding Group. FIN Electronic Cigarettes has launched a brand awareness campaign with full page ads in Rolling Stone magazine. The campaign features a series of full-page print advertisements

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R.J. Reynolds Introduces Camel SNUS Mint

R.J. Reynolds has announced the expansion of its Camel SNUS line, now available in select retail outlets in a Mint style. Camel SNUS Mint is the latest innovation from the brand known for transforming tobacco, giving adult tobacco consumers the freedom to “Break Free” and enjoy tobacco pleasure on their own terms. Offering innovative smoke-free

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High Expectations for Cigarettes

While there are those who would like to see cigarettes go up in smoke, c-store operators can rest assured that this critical category will continue to be ablaze with activity. “Among the trends I see for 2012 is that there is going to be continued or heightened competition among the second tier brands,” said Bonnie

E-Cig Users Celebrate World Vaping Day

As e-cig sales globally hit  $200 million, with over $100 million of business in the U.S., e-cig consumer organizations encourage vapers to celebrate the product around the world. Thousands of smokers and ex-smokers across the world will be celebrating World Vaping Day March 22 to celebrate the success of the electronic cigarette, and to encourage

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E-Cigarettes Are Here to Stay

Until recently, e-cigs have been sold through traditional tobacco stores that normally expect a keystone or 100% markup on items other than cigarettes. Though it is hard to determine the number of e-cig users in the U.S., the National Vapers Club estimated that about a million people used e-cigs last year, so it certainly is

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Navigating OTP’s Legal Battleground

The prospects for OTP throughout 2012 are good, as growth remains strong. But a swelling number of revenue-strapped state legislatures continue to hungrily eye the category. “I think the category will continue to expand,” predicted Matt Hieb, category manager for Gate Petroleum, which operates 225 convenience stores in six Southeastern states.“The growth of the brands

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New Report Attacks Tobacco Sales, Targets C-Stores

Report by anti-smoking groups condemns c-stores for point-of-sale tobacco marketing. A new report, titled “Deadly Alliance: How Tobacco Companies and Convenience Stores Partner to Market Tobacco Products and Fight Life-Saving Policies” has been released by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Counter Tobacco (a project that works to counter tobacco product sales and marketing at the

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Lighting Your Way to Profitability

When sold responsibly, lighters are a dependable source of revenue, even as the number of smokers declines. Lighters are a much-needed tool for the home grill and candles. Another trend helping push lighter sales in c-stores is flavored cigars, which continues to grow at an impressive rate. “Tobacco accessories are alive and well, evolving with

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blu Cigs Arrive in Canada’s Couche-Tard Stores

“We are interested in products that are on the cutting edge,” says Jean-Marie Bourque, Couche-Tard category manager.  On the heels of an impressive 2011 retail expansion, blu Cigs has started 2012 by boosting the number of U.S. retail locations carrying blu to nearly 20,000. Now, the e-cigarette company is celebrating another milestone—expansion into the Canadian

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NATO Announces Initiative To Combat Local Ordinances

Free sign up date for the April 2012 NATO Show extended. The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) launched a new initiative in response to the wave of local ordinances being proposed in cities in Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Pennsylvania and other states.  “These local ordinance are the latest in the attempt by the anti-tobacco

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R.J. Reynolds Launches Get Engaged

R.J. Reynolds delivers on its pledge to its retail partners with a powerful new online tool: Get Engaged. R.J. Reynolds has launched Get Engaged, a new feature on EngageRJRT.com, the online resource for R.J. Reynolds’ retail partners. Get Engaged was created as a research and learning platform intended to provide retailers with shopper insights and

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Designing a Winning OTP Strategy

Convenience stores have evolved from being a destination for cigarettes to a destination for tobacco products as a whole. By Joe Bush, Contributing Editor. It was inevitable that the conversation on convenience store cigar sales would shift eventually from rapid growth to supplier relations, category management and marketing. As cigarette regulations and prices and taxes

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A Simple Tobacco Fable

Alternative products are helping to shape the future of convenience store tobacco sets. By Lou Maiellano. Imagine, if you will, that European explorers land in Africa, North America or South America in the 14th, 15th or 16th centuries. Upon landing, these explorers find the inhabitants of these exotic new lands drinking a strange, energizing brew

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Altria Chairman and CEO To Retire

“Now is the time to transition leadership to people of an age to guide the company through its next phase of growth,” says Altria CEO. Altria has announced that Chairman and CEO Michael Szymanczyk, 63, has decided to retire after 23 years of distinguished service to the company, including four years as chairman and CEO

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FDA’s CTP Announces Public Workshop

A Webcast of the workshop will be available, although preregistration is required. FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products has announced a Research Program Public Workshop: Expanding the Research Base for Tobacco Product Regulation. The purpose of the public workshop is to discuss FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products’ (CTP) research priorities across a broad array of disciplines;

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