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Sales of Accessories Heat Up

November 10, 2016

Though lighters and other tobacco accessories remain fortified by cigarettes, other tobacco products and related offerings promise to generate robust sales.

By Howard Riell, Associate Editor

Business remains steady in the tobacco accessories category, with much of the industry buzz focusing on accessories for a pair of unrelated product lines—electronic cigarettes and legalized marijuana.

In states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal—it remains illegal according to federal law—convenience stores have the opportunity to add items like pipes, lighters and rolling papers.

Meanwhile, electronic cigarettes have helped increase marketable accessory lines with cartridges, chargers, brushes and more. However the category itself has become more challenging amid slowing sales, shelf space issues, competition from vape shops and most notably, ongoing legislation.

According to IRI, convenience store sales of tobacco accessories for the 52-week period ending Aug. 21, 2016 were $251.8 million, a 0.96% drop compared to 2015. Business in cigarette lighters continues to hinge on price, design and impulse buys aided by suggestive selling, and operators are only too glad to add even slightly to their average ring.

“We’re real limited as far as our accessories offering,” said Bailey Lyden, vice president of retail for Truenorth Energy, a Brecksville, Ohio company that operates 111 truenorth convenience stores in Ohio and Illinois. “We only do lighters.”

The convenience retailer has had an exclusive relationship with Bic for nearly seven years—the manufacturer also provides the chain with a private-label lighter. “We brand one truenorth and sell it a little cheaper than the normal ones. That’s been a nice deal for us.”

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FDA’s Deeming Regs and What You Should Know

July 11, 2016

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized final deeming rules that pertain to other tobacco products—most which are important contributors to convenience store sales. Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), answered questions about specifics that c-stores should be aware of.

By Dave Bennett, Senior Editor

Convenience Store Decisions recently sat down with Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) regarding the most pressing regulatory issues the tobacco industry faces now. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publishing its final deeming regulations May 10, he gave his take on how the deeming rules will likely impact convenience retailers and the industry.

CSD: What kinds of products are now “deemed” to be under FDA regulations?

TB: In the deeming regulations, the FDA has expanded its regulatory authority to include premium cigars, domestic cigars, pipe tobacco, e-cigarettes, e-hookah, e-cigars, vape pens, advanced refillable personal vaporizers, electronic pipes, hookah tobacco, dissolvable tobacco products and nicotine gels.

CSD: When do the deeming regulations go into effect?

TB: Generally, the deeming regulations go into effect on Aug. 8, 2016, but the FDA has various compliance periods for different regulations.

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Taxing Tobacco Issues

June 28, 2016

Arguably, no state in the country has more convoluted tobacco laws to challenge both consumers and merchants than New York.

By Jim Calvin

Here in New York, what remains of the beleaguered tobacco category in convenience stores is under constant attack by health advocates and regulators who resemble hyenas feasting on a zebra carcass.

The 677% spike in state cigarette excise tax during the 2000s—which succeeded in chasing more than half of our cigarette customers into the arms of low-tax street dealers, lower-tax border states and no-tax tribal outlets—has been followed in the 2010s by a barrage of local regulatory activity at the county, city and town levels across the Empire State.

In part, regulations dictate: let’s elevate the purchase age to 21. Let’s restrict where e-cigarette users can vape. Let’s force stores to get a local tobacco license on top of the state license they already have. Let’s ban tobacco sales within half a mile of a school. Let’s make stores hide their tobacco displays.

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Early PATH Study Findings Reveal E-Cigarette Trends

April 13, 2016

Early findings of the PATH study from the FDA have revealed growing trends in the e-cigarette market. 

One of the most important areas of research in the tobacco industry is electronic cigarette use, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released some of the early findings from its Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) study.

According to a report from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), the long-term PATH study, sponsored by the FDA and the National Institute of Health, has revealed the following data in relation to e-cigarette use among adults:

  1. 5% of adults in the study used an e-cigarette in the past month.
  2. 40% of adults that use e-cigarettes used an e-cigarette less than three times in the past 30 days.
  3. 8% of current e-cigarette users were also current tobacco smokers.
  4. 83% of 18 to 24 year olds that use e-cigarettes have a preference for flavored e-cigarettes.
  5. 63% of adults 25 years old and older that use e-cigarettes have a preference for flavored e-cigarettes.

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Altria, PMI Expand Strategic Framework for E-Vapor Products

August 18, 2015

Philip Morris International, Swedish Match dissolve joint venture

RICHMOND, Va. — Altria Group Inc. said that it is expanding its strategic framework with Philip Morris International (PMI), first announced in December 2013, to include a joint research, development and technology-sharing agreement.

Altria and PMI will collaborate to develop e-vapor products for commercialization in the United States by Altria and in markets outside the United States by PMI.

The agreement also provides for exclusive technology cross licenses, technical information sharing and cooperation on scientific assessment, regulatory engagement and approval related to e-vapor products.

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Altria Moves Toward Modified Risk Products

July 7, 2015

Innovation, a long-term pillar of The Altria Group Inc.’s evolution as a company, is now also a key driving force behind its future plans.

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