The tobacco market in the UK continued to drop in value last year, further igniting the challenge for producers following last week’s announcement of a smoking ban from summer 2007.
Total tobacco sales fell by 1.3% to £9.3bn in the year to October 1, 2005, according to ACNielsen. This was aided in part by consumers trading down to budget cigarettes as duty increases continue to push many brands over the £5 mark.
But with a nationwide ban on tobacco advertising, and now an impending ban on smoking in public places, it appears producers will have their work cut out. “It’s more crucial than ever that communication with the trade is two-way and that we tell them what’s going on,” said Gallaher trade communications manager Jeremy Blackburn.
Industry experts said while they could learn from Ireland, following its ban in 2004, and Scotland, from next month, the clampdown on smoking had primarily changed smoking location and purchasing habits.
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