The big fear of tobacco specialists in Norway in 2015 was a proposal to introduce plain packaging, which is likely to be implemented from 2017 and would also include cigars and cigarillos. Tobacco specialists were quoted in the media as saying they would go out of business if this were to happen as cigars, which are an important source of their revenue, lose much of their value if the branding is removed. In the end, the bill put before parliament on plain packaging primarily covers all tobacco products, but certain tobacco products such as cigars and cigarillos, which are not purchased by a significant share of young people, could be exempt, although the sale of such products may be restricted to specialist outlets. This is already the case with cigars in Norway, which are sold almost exclusively through tobacco specialists, which are exempt from the point-of- sale display ban.
British American Tobacco Norway AS remained the biggest player in cigarillos in 2015 with a retail volume share of 28% through offering the brands Bellman, Café Crème and JHA, which are sold in both grocery and convenience stores in addition to tobacco specialists. Imperial Tobacco Norway AS and Conrad Langaard AS both held a volume share of 9% through their respective King Edward and Ritmeester brands. Cigarillos benefit from mainstream distribution through grocery and convenience stores, although they are affected by the point-of-sale display ban on tobacco products, which makes it difficult to recruit new users.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Tobacco market research database.