One of the world’s largest makers of cigarettes says the coronavirus pandemic is having a positive impact on sales.
U.S cigarette unit sales will fall much less than expected because of people being confined to their homes during the pandemic, Altria executives told stock analysts on July 28. Sales are expected to fall by 2 percent to 3.5 percent instead of the previously anticipated 4 to 6 percent. Increasing government restrictions on vaping products have also eased the slide.
“Fewer social engagements allow for more tobacco-use occasions,” said Altria CEO Billy Gifford in the call.
Unemployment is also keeping more Americans at home, says Gifford, and stimulus checks have helped people afford to buy products such as cigarettes.
In addition, adult vapers are switching back to cigarettes as regulators clamp down on the use of vaping products, said Gifford in the call. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is requiring e-cigarette makers to submit their products for review.
“Consumers are faced with choices,” said Gifford. “It benefited the entire category.”