*Convenience Store Update - hanging tobacco signs from the ceiling..

September 20, 2008 - the Philip Morris USA Retail Leaders 2008 Agreement, at present only involves the checkout counter and the wall behind the counter - the "power wall".

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco is now hanging promotion displays from the ceiling surrounding the checkout counter.

* September 23, 2008 - Went back to c-store to take additional photos of R.J Reynolds Tobacco signs hanging from the ceiling. The owner told me another Secret Shopper came in the store to determine if he would push the sale of Camel SNUS. He did mention Camel SNUS and won a $10 Walmart gift card. The owner did remark he made more with the gift card then he does with Camel SNUS in a whole month - he seldom sales a can. New standalone Camel SNUS sign.

It is well known that kids exposed to the tobacco-saturated stores perceived significantly easier access to cigarettes, believed more peers tried and approved of smoking, and expressed weaker support for tobacco-control policies. We know that Mike Szymanczyk now the CEO of Altria, Inc. has stated that Philip Morris owes their success to the ability to connect with adult tobacco consumers through the in-store experience and the development of one-to-one relationships using their database of 25 million adult cigarette smokers (Remarks, Investor Presentation, 3/11/2008). We must take the former away from tobacco companies by ridding retail outlets of tobacco signs (all promotional material) and placing tobacco products under the counter or go to generic packaging for all tobacco products.

Examples of related news briefs" Big 3 cigarette companies continue to compete for c-store space - the PM T-SET.. and Link Between Convenience Stores and Tobacco Use....

The word on the street - regarding Camel Crush is that when the filter is squeezed to release the menthol - the menthol is not distributed evenly. The R.J. Reynolds salesperson recommends rolling the filter back and forth with your fingers. This fellow reminds retailers there will be a slew of new smokeless tobacco products coming such as - "nicpic" - the tobacco containing toothpick coming soon; some examples.

Camel Crush coupons by mail - not as good as the Camel Snus coupons - no free give aways - the latter is part of the public awareness/education campaign to sell people on sucking tobacco. We know lots about menthol cigarettes - you're either a menthol smoker or a regular smoker - years ago some regular smokers switched to menthols (a cold remedy) when they had a cold.

Lorillard can also be demanding in determining the amount of convenience store space they must have. There is no formal agreement like with Philip Morris - it depends on the percent of Lorillard cigarettes sold. The greater the percentage the more space is required. Lorillard sends $100 to the retailers each month plus a small percentage based on the number of cartons sold. Lorillard's largest selling brand is Newport, the second largest selling cigarette brand in the United States and the largest selling brand in the menthol segment of the U.S. cigarette market. Maverick is Lorillard's up and coming discount cigarette.