A government issued review has found that the legal age to purchase cigarettes should rise by one year, per year. This means that each year, the legal age to buy cigarettes will rise, creating a smoke-free generation. On surface level, this looks like it could burn retailers. However, will these be first-degree burns, or just a slight scold? 

Initial reactions show that retailers are worried, and rightly so, as cigarettes still remain the top seller in the convenience sector.  With 20% of sales in convenience coming from tobacco, and a cost of living crisis on our hands, many independent retailers rely on this category to bring the money in. Tobacco products are an integral part of our businesses, although the news may not be as bad as initially thought.

Within the review, several other recommendations were put forward. Those of note include encouraging the government to invest into smoke-free policies and the promotion of vaping. This will open up a massive opportunity for retailers with a vape station in-store, as this will be the go-to for smokers unable to obtain cigarettes.

While tobacco products have been a huge part of our trade, there is now an opportunity to innovate, and evolve our business strategies, stores and layouts. Additionally, while the government is said to be ‘carefully considering’ the recommendations set out, even if the changes are implemented, this will not affect smokers under 30 for 12 years.

This gives retailers time to prepare to evolve their store to transition their tobacco categories into more vape focused and tobacco alternative methods. We have seen huge success recently for vape retailers, with industry leaders such as IVG and Aquavape showing us how it’s done.

Overall, while this will impact our businesses if implemented, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

What are your thoughts? Are you concerned or excited to expand your vape offerings? Get in touch or comment below!


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  1. I have noticed a sharp increase in vaping and welcome the vastly increased margins. My concern would be that the government may impose higher taxes on these products, manufacturers getting greedy and thus bringing our margins down.