Rothmans UK is slashing the price of Marlboro to stop it breaking the critical 3 barrier as a result of any tax increase in next month’s Budget.
According to industry sources, the tobacco industry is bracing itself for increases of between 12p and 15p on a packet of 20 cigarettes, which would push premium brands above 3 and might prompt many consumers to quit smoking.
Rothmans, which distributes the Philip Morris brand Marlboro in the UK, is preparing to flood the trade with packs carrying a 10p-off flash. The brand, which comes in full strength, medium and light variants, normally retails at 2.93.
The promotion is expected to start at the beginning of November, and will last for about 12 weeks.
One observer says: “Tobacco companies know that when the price of a packet of 20 went over 2 a lot of smokers quit. If they can get reduced-price packs into the trade, the 3 barrier will not be noticeable.”