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A shift back to cigarettes during the pandemic has paused a long sales decline, while posing more headwinds for the already challenged e-cigarette category.

How long the bottoming of cigarette sales will continue is anyone’s guess, because it’s dependent on many variables—a condition with which all CPG brands can identify.

The list of variables includes “smokers’ stay at home practices, unemployment rates, fiscal stimulus, cross category movement, the timing and breadth of COVID-19 vaccine deployment and consumer purchasing behavior following the vaccine,” Altria Group CFO and EVP Sal Mancuso said on Jan. 28.