Sales of "Koiki" brand loose tobacco accounts an "extremely small" percentage of Japan Tobacco Inc.'s total sales, according to spokesman Yoshinori Tsuchiya, but that is creeping up as the company has not witnessed the steep decline in sales in the months since the tax hike.
" 'Koiki' is fine-cut Japanese tobacco that is not for roll-your-own cigarettes or a regular pipe, but for the traditional 'kiseru' pipe," Tsuchiya told Relaxnews.
"Koiki" was launched in 1985 to meet demand from purists who yearened for a revival of Japanese tobacco culture, Tsuchiya said. The product is made by hand at a single JT factory, but the company also owns the "Old Holborn" and "Amber Leaf" brands of rolling tobacco, while "Golden Virginia" and "Drum" can also be purchased in Japan.
"I first tried roll-your-own cigarettes on holiday in Europe because they are not at all common in Japan, but I liked the taste and I do prefer them to regular cigarettes," said Kanako Hosomura, 28, a bar worker from Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo. "And it is nice to be doing something different from everyone else around me." (The Independent)