Convenience Store News

JUL 2015

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80 Convenience Store News | JULY 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP TOBACCO W ith the tobacco category making up a large portion of the convenience channel's busi- ness, a lot of focus has been placed on what the future of tobacco holds. At the Tobacco Merchants Association's (TMA) Centennial Celebration & Conference, which was held May 18-20 in Williamsburg, Va., industry players broke down the category's possibilities by segment. Although cigarette volume has been on a slow and steady decline, there are bright spots in the tobacco category. CIGARS "It's been an interesting few years to be in the cigar industry," shared Joe Augustus, senior vice president of external affairs at Swisher International. Swisher is "cautiously optimistic" moving forward, he said. For example, there has been some stability in the marketplace for cigar products, and consumer pref- erence changes have forced cigar manufacturers to adapt to the evolving landscape. In addition, state economies have begun to recover, so legislatures are relying less on tobacco excise tax increases as a revenue booster. That is not to say the cigar industry is worry-free. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) deem- ing regulation looms over the industry, according to Augustus. Of particular concern for cigars is the pro- posed fee structure and 2007 predicate date. SMOKELESS TOBACCO As for smokeless tobacco, future potential may lie in modified risk. In August, Swedish Match North America became the first company to submit to the FDA a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application for its General snus line. The agency's Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) reviewed the application in April and while the FDA has not issued a final decision, Jim Solyst, director of federal govern- ment affairs at Swedish Match, said the application alone has increased awareness for the snus segment. Time will tell what impact this awareness — which is acting as an education tool about snus to many U.S. consumers — will have on the product. Swedish Match believes the attention "will certainly impact our sales in the U.S.," Solyst told TMA Conference attend- ees. "But perhaps the longer-term message will be on harm reduction." E-VAPOR PRODUCTS The FDA's deeming regulation also takes center stage with e-vapor products. John Wiesehan Jr., CEO of Mistic-Ballantyne Brands, said what the agency An Abundance of Uncertainty Tobacco Merchants Association's 100th meeting offers insight to where tobacco may be heading By Melissa Kress Representatives from various tobacco product manufacturers forecasted what's ahead for their respective sectors. Michael Lavery and Bonnie Herzog participated in an analyst roundtable discussion.

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