Burning Questions in This New Era of Nicotine

Six topics discussed during CSP's 2017 Total Nicotine Conference

Melissa Vonder Haar, Freelance Writer

Don Burke of MSA reassured attendees that the tobacco category “isn’t declining.”

Attendees of Winsight’s 2017 Total Nicotine Conference had plenty to unpack from the tumultuous days leading up to the event, not to mention the past year.

Four days before the August conference, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made several surprise announcements on both the existing deeming regulations and future regulations the agency intends to propose. Over the past year, it began implementing deeming regulations on cigars, electronic cigarettes and vapor products. Scott Gottlieb was appointed FDA commissioner. The agency proposed a rule to limit ingredients in smokeless tobacco. And there were significant increases in local regulations, with several cities considering proposals to ban menthol cigarettes.

As Carl Loos, senior vice president of Glenview, Ill.-based Republic Tobacco, put it, “Everything’s either being taxed or attacked in tobacco.”

That said, data presented by Don Burke, senior vice president of Management Science Associates Inc. (MSA), Pittsburgh, showed an industry that’s surviving and, in some segments, even thriving amid the  regulatory chaos. Tobacco volumes were down only 0.3% year over year across all retail channels, according to MSA.

“The category isn’t declining,” said Burke. “It’s pretty much flat, but with pretty major changes to the different segments.”

Here’s how those specific segments stacked up:

Cigarettes: Overall, volume for the category was down 3.3%. However, the superpremium segment continues to grow (up 8% year over year).

Cigars: Large cigars again were a bright spot, up 11.5% across all retail channels and 12.8% in convenience, thanks mainly to cigarillos.

Vapor: Far from dissipating in the wake of FDA regulations, vaporizer sales (led by new products from Logic, Vuse and Juul) were up 281% across all channels and 400% in convenience, according to MSA data.

Despite these positive numbers, the tobacco industry’s future is still being written. Check out in the following pages the six topics that were discussed at the 2017 Total Nicotine Conference, held Aug. 1-3 in Chicago, as the industry enters a new era of nicotine.

Table of Contents

Local Regs: Is the Biggest Threat Close to Home?

From the FDA: 4 Updates for Retailers

What Is NNN? Why Should You Care?

The FDA’s Other Announcement: Good, Bad or Who Knows?

Menthol Regulations: Who Has the Most to Lose?

iQOS: Can It Live Up to the Hype?