NATO Show a Genuine Success

Published in Tobacco E-News

More than 100,000 retail locations represented at inaugural NATO Show.

By  Thomas A. Briant, Executive Director

Enthusiastic attendees of the inaugural NATO Show held last week at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas used words such as "amazing," "fantastic," "first class," "tremendous," "over the top," "incredible" and "fabulous" to describe the new all-tobacco trade show.

The entire trade-show floor sold out, and there was even a waiting list of potential exhibitors who wanted to be a part of this very first NATO Show. Exhibitors from all segments of the tobacco industry filled the show floor, including every major tobacco manufacturer in the country. The numerous show specials and wide range of tobacco [image-nocss] products, accessories and related services being offered by exhibitors made the trade-show floor an excellent buying opportunity.

The breadth of the NATO Show was illustrated by the fact that those retailers and wholesalers in attendance operate or service more than 100,000 retail locations throughout the United States. Moreover, there was a diverse group of retailers attending the show, including tobacco stores, convenience stores, service stations and even liquor stores.

Aside froma show floor filled with exhibits, the keynote speaker was Dr. Lawrence Deyton of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Productsand hespoke to an overflow crowd of retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers. In his presentation, he outlined the overall health focus of the new federal tobacco regulations, but also emphasized the importance of the FDA establishing a partnership with the industry through regular communication on tobacco regulations.

The various means of communication include submitting comments on proposed regulations, e-mailing questions or concerns directly to the Center for Tobacco Products office, attending upcoming informational retail compliance webinars and being a part of an upcoming stakeholder discussion meeting for retailers and distributors to be held on August 11, 2011.

Another informative session included a detailed review of the first annual NATO-CSP Tobacco Insider Report that explored the results of an industry-wide survey of retailer practices, product opportunities and marketing challenges. In addition, industry experts conducted seminars on FDA tobacco regulation from an industry point of view, updated tobacco legislation, tobacco product and consumption trends and the shift in the tobacco marketplace to include an expansion of new other tobacco product offerings.

Judging by the genuine success of the very first NATO Show, the 2012 NATO Show which will be held on April 24-26, 2012, at the Paris Hotel promises to be the one tobacco trade show that simply cannot be missed.