JTI is launching a new initiative to support retailers through the new EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) which will ban the production of cigarettes in packs of less than 20, and rolling tobacco in pouches of less than 30g, from May.

With the launch of ‘Your Guide Through Change’, retailers will have access to advice with clear, practical steps to ensure they continue to profit from the tobacco category.

The comprehensive three-step communications plan will see JTI provide online training modules, educational videos and easy-to-read information packs through JTI Advance (www.jtiadvance.co.uk) in the run up to the ban.

The tobacco manufacturer has also invested in “upskilling” its sales force so that reps can give sound business advice to retailers during store visits.

Jeremy Blackburn, JTI head of communications, said: “With the launch of Your Guide Through Change we begin a programme of ongoing communications for retailers. Whilst every shopkeeper that sells tobacco will need to be prepared, for now it’s business as usual.”

From May 2016 tobacco manufacturers will have to start making the new larger packs, however retailers have until May 2017 to sell through the current packs. Menthol cigarettes will be banned from May 2020.

Furthermore, the UK government has passed plain packaging legislation which means retailers will not be permitted to sell branded tobacco products from May 2017.

JTI, along with other tobacco manufacturers, is currently challenging plain packaging in the courts and an outcome is expected shortly.