Editor’s Note: The following comment from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) discussed in the article below is of particular note: “a black market will arise if the sale of menthol cigarettes is banned in the U.S. because criminal elements will take advantage of the opportunity to profit from illicit cigarette sales.”
Taxation Taking a Toll on Cigarettes
Mounting restrictions on the retail sale of tobacco continues to plague this core convenience store category.
By John Lofstock, Editor
Long a staple of the convenience store industry, cigarettes remain a category in crisis. The rise of e-cigarettes and a never-ending spate of federal, state and local regulations have taken a toll on this once thriving category.
Though controversial, cigarettes remain a legal product, and one that is important to the economic viability of the convenience store industry. In fact, according to the 2013 NACS State of the Industry Report, sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products still stood at an average of 40% of the industry’s in-store sales. But from taxes to age verification, proposed regulation of e-cigarettes and heightened government attention to menthol, selling cigarettes has never been a trickier minefield to traverse.
That said, the population of adults who exclusively smoke regular cigarettes is declining, while those who use multiple tobacco/nicotine products, depending on the situation, location, or activity, are growing in number.