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Herbal cigarettes Cigarettes

TR: Clove and herbal cigarettes

Clove cigarettes contain a unique blend of tobacco and cloves. Herbal cigarettes, according to many smokers and manufacturers, are considered "natural" cigarettes. They are made from a blend of herbs such as jasmine, red clover and ginseng. They do not contain tobacco or nicotine.

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There are smokers, and then there are smokers who like to indulge in exotic tasting specialty tobacco products. Clove and herbal cigarettes are two categories of specialty cigarettes that retailers may want to consider carrying. "The clove cigarette, natively called kreteks, provide a very indulgent taste experience," says Darren Thibodeau, director of purchasing for Kretek International in Moorpark, Calif. "It's one that smokers enjoy more as a change of pace and enjoy on special occasions." Clove cigarettes contain a unique blend of tobacco and cloves. Cloves are the dried flower buds of an evergreen tree that is native to Indonesia. It is widely used as a spice in cooking. "The blend of premium tobacco, cloves and natural spices creates a distinctive sweet, mellow aroma and taste providing a unique smoking experience," says an American Kretek Company representative, the exclusive importer/distributor of Gudang Garam clove cigarettes in the United States. It is based in Walnut, Calif. "Clove cigarettes have a sweetened tip, and the aroma is a combination of fine aged tobacco and cloves," Thibodeau says. "The aroma from a clove cigarette is very different from a regular cigarette contributing to the taste experience." "Regular cigarette smokers may occasionally try something new, like clove cigarettes, but they still stick with their smoke of choice," says the representative from American Kretek. "The same is true with clove smokers. Regular cigarettes do not provide the same smoking pleasure they're used to with the clove of their choice." Herbal cigarettes, according to many smokers and manufacturers, are considered "natural" cigarettes. They are made from a blend of herbs such as jasmine, red clover and ginseng. They do not contain tobacco or nicotine. Retailers can offer a unique taste for smokers by carrying herbal and clove cigarettes; moreover, they could achieve financial gain. "The average price of a pack of clove cigarettes is not like mainstream cigarette prices," Thibodeau says. "In all cases, Djarum sells for more than domestic premium cigarettes, resulting in higher cigarette profit margins. Your profit margin will be significantly higher than selling domestic mainstream cigarettes." Kretek International imports the Djarum Brand of kreteks from Indonesia. Thibodeau says that distribution of Djarum in the United States has seen double-digit growth from five years ago. "In most cases, if a person enjoys the taste of a clove cigarette, they know Djarum," he says. "Unlike Indonesia and other countries where clove cigarettes are a regular or traditional smoke, clove cigarettes in the U.S. saw a significant market growth in the early '90s and they still remain popular to this date," says the representative from American Kretek Company. Initially, clove cigarettes were introduced in America at specialty tobacco and select cigarette retail outlets, the spokesperson says. "As a proof of its popularity, clove cigarettes are now available at convenience, liquor and gas station retail outlets." "Today smokers are faced with legislation about where they can smoke, when they can smoke and what they can smoke," Thibodeau says. "A large percentage of this customer base has made the decision that they can't smoke as much as they used to, so they smoke less, but now they choose to smoke better. This has led to a significant increase in the super-premium market." "Retailers should carry clove cigarettes because of two simple reasons: there is a demand and there is a better profit margin compared to other cigarette and tobacco products," says the American Kretek Company representative. "Clove smokers are brand loyal and brand conscious," the representative says. "Some start out due to curiosity while others start by word-of-mouth. But it evolves into their favorite smoke of choice." "Clove smokers are not two-pack-a-day smokers," Thibodeau says. "Many of them also smoke Marlboro or Camels, but smoking clove cigarettes is a more indulgent taste. We produce a high-quality product that offers a different smoking experience for adult smokers who like an indulgent lifestyle." Instead of just relying on word-of-mouth to promote clove and herbal cigarettes, retailers can increase the sales of these specialty products by making them more visible and enticing to customers. "Though demand is not as great for clove cigarettes compared to regular brand cigarettes, retailers are willing to carry cloves simply because there is definitely a demand," the American Kretek Company representative says. "Retailers don't want to lose clove customers who would end up buying clove cigarettes and other items from neighboring competition." "It is important for retailers to realize that when it comes to the super premium market, merchandising is everything," Thibodeau says. "Many people do not know that the gas station down the street carries Djarum. That's because the product is usually kept behind the counter. Don't put the cartons under the counter. We offer a countertop display that you put raw cloves in for customers to smell when they walk by. We also provide window signs noting our product. We can help retailers get the brand out from behind the counter. "We want more retailers to carry our brand. There is a niche for clove cigarettes," Thibodeau says. "A large number of adult smokers enjoy this product and would buy it if they knew you carried it." Look for two new styles of Djarum coming April 1 from Kretek International: Supersmooth and Supersmooth Black. "It's a new product that is slightly narrower and thinner and has a vented design," Thibodeau says. "It is designed to be more in line with the lighter taste palate of today's smoker. It produces less tar and nicotine. There is a slightly different taste between the two styles. This is a great product for someone who would like to try a clove cigarette for the first time." These two new styles also come in five-pack cubes instead of the usual 10-pack cube, Thibodeau says. The price will be comparable to existing Djarum styles. Supersmooth and Supersmooth Black are being test-marketed mostly in the Southeastern states right now, Thibodeau says.

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