Serving Cigar Smokers
Usage of little cigars, which have lower taxes and fewer marketing limitations than cigarettes, has enhanced significantly during the last three years. And while convenience store sellers can use the usual promoting strategies to them, an in-depth study of their potential, said one retailer, must begin.
“There are two separate types of little cigars on the market,” Andrew Kerstein, president and owner of five Smoker’s Haven stores in Matawan, N.J. and the chairman of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) explained.
“There are the little cigars that are bought by a quantity of mainly older, senior citizens who can no longer afford the price of produced cigarettes because of the considerable increased in SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) or to roll their own cigarettes. They are switching to little cigars.”
Little cigars are seasonal products. Product sales in a cold weather have a tendency to increase considerably. “In most markets there are considerable enough limitations on indoor smoking so most people must smoke outdoors,” Kerstein said.
“The younger consumers are not excited about little cigars. People who are aged between 20-30 years have enough disposable earnings to purchase cigarettes and that’s what they are purchasing,” Kerstein said.
“Little cigars, because of tax gaps between cigars and cigarettes, become appealing to cigarette smokers,” said Andrea Myers, a board member of NATO, who works in 12 Fast Max convenience stores as well as 19 Smokers Host Discount Tobacco stores throughout Indiana. “There are a lot of people who switched from cigarettes to little cigars. Little cigars look like a cigarette, act like a cigarette, and they sell for about a quarter of the price of cigarettes, influenced by which brands a smoker uses of both.
While the strategies of selling little cigars possibly aren’t all that different from most other products at least in Kocolene’s stores, to lend themselves more easily to effective selling, which has implications on employee education and training.
“Little cigars are an easy product to sell to low-income smokers,” Myers said.
While little cigars and electronic cigarettes have enjoyed a rise in popularity, the jury is still largely out on e-cigars.
Kerstein defined what he sees as a lack of catching strength by electronic cigars by returning to the original premise behind e-cigarettes.
“What aided prompt electronic cigarettes were a need influenced by smoking limitations and price issues. So if there are considerable limitations, again on where adult smokers can smoke lawfully, electronic cigarettes are not subject to the same limitations. Smokers can use them indoors and that makes a big opportunity.