Tobacco: When Trends Collide

A new administration and supplier consolidation make 2017 turbulent for the category

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

The tobacco category’s unpredictability has escalated in 2017, with the new Trump administration and questions about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) “deeming” regulations. Here are three burning trends facing the category.

1. Stability with a Republican administration?

With Republicans in control, analysts expect a more temperate regulatory tone. But while e-cigs and vaping may fall out of the federal crosshairs, predictions get sketchier on the state and local levels. Watch for new legislation on everything from flavor bans to tobacco purchasing age.

2. The big get bigger.

British American Tobacco’s purchase of the remaining shares of Reynolds American Inc. and Altria Group’s purchase of Nat Sherman are a testament to what many say is an ongoing trend.

3. Tobacco alternatives.

With Philip Morris International having success overseas with iQOS, its “heat-not-burn” device, at least one analyst is predicting an “arms race” among major manufacturers with alternatives to traditional combustible tobacco. Expect more research, development and trials coming from the major players.

$56.4 billion

C-store sales of cigarettes in 2016

Source: IRI

Click here to see the complete tobacco data from the 2017 Category Management Handbook.