Traditional cigarette sales continue to perform better than expected during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to two tobacco industry analysts.

Overall sales volume for traditional cigarettes was down just 0.2% for the four-week period that ended July 11, according to the latest Nielsen survey of convenience stores.

By comparison, the sales volume was down 7.2% in the four-week period that ended in Aug. 10, 2019.

Meanwhile, sales of electronic cigarettes — down 13.2% for the four-week period — have continued to slump five months after the Food and Drug Administration implemented its latest round of heightened regulations on the products.

The FDA regulations have depressed the demand for closed-pod cartridges that provide the nicotine, with No. 2-selling Vuse of R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. being the lone exception.

The ability of traditional cigarette to flatten its sales decline year-over-year represents “a very dramatic change in the market and coincides with the concerted attacks on vaping over the past year,” said David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa and the author of several e-cigarette studies.

“It is deeply ironic that the credit for the recovery of the cigarette business from a near-death experience a little over a year ago can be credited to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michael Bloomberg and the others who pushed an abstinence-only agenda on nicotine.”

“By undermining the low risk alternatives to cigarettes they protected the cigarette business.”

Read full article here.

Richard Craver – Winston-Salem Journal – July 23, 2020.

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