Rising gas prices will likely depress cigarette demand due to consumers having less cash to spend at gas stations, according to CNBC.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has driven oil prices up as the U.S. and other Western countries have imposed sanctions on Russia. On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude futures, the U.S. oil benchmark, was trading at prices not seen since the financial crisis of September 2008, and Brent crude hit a high from May 2012.
Gaurav Jain, a Barclays analyst, estimates that a 1 percent increase in oil prices will cause U.S. cigarette volume to decline by 0.1 percent. “The trend seems to suggest that as consumers saved more money at the gas station and went to the attached convenience store, they bought more cigarettes (impulse purchase item). Now as oil prices move higher, the reverse could happen,” Jain wrote in a note to clients.
Jain predicts that U.S. cigarette volume for fiscal 2022 will fall by 5 percent with prices rising 7 percent. It’s also expected that some consumers will switch to other tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes or modern oral nicotine pouches, in search of cheaper alternatives.