Cigars - once one of the ultimate signs of wealth and decadence - are getting a recession-friendly makeover by Scandinavian Tobacco Group.

The maker of Henri Wintermans Café Crème cigars has launched value offer Willem II Moments with an rsp of £3.10 for a tin of 10 mini cigars, making it 28% less than Café Crème, which sells for £4.31.

STG has been trialling a smooth version of the brand, Moments Blue, in selected Tesco and Asda stores and is now rolling it and standard version Moments Original out to the rest of the trade.

The launch was designed to cash in on the trend for consumer downtrading, which has been in evidence in the cigarette market for several years, and the growing popularity of miniature cigars.

“While the recession has made consumers evaluate what value for money really represents in some fmcg categories and alter their purchasing decisions accordingly, until recently the trend has not fully established itself in cigars,” said STG UK trade marketing manager Alastair Williams. “However, the market has moved on.”

The name Moments reflected the fact smokers were now forced to go outside to smoke and that many preferred smaller products that took less time to smoke, said Williams.

He claimed Moments would not cannibalise Café Crème. “Where we have trialled Moments, sales of Café Crème have held up very well,” he said.

Imperial Tobacco is rolling out Lambert & Butler King Size cigarettes next month featuring a Glide Tec format opened by sliding a panel on the front of the pack.