April 5, 2011 - British American Tobacco (BAT), estimated to be the world’s second largest tobacco group by global market share, created a unit that will seek to develop nicotine products for people wanting an alternative to cigarettes as governments aim to reduce smoking.
British American Tobacco confirmed on April 5 that it has established a start-up company, Nicoventures Limited, that will focus exclusively on the development and commercialisation of innovative regulatory approved nicotine products. (British American Tobacco establishes stand-alone company, Nicoventures Limited, politics.finchannel.com/Main_New, 4/5.22011.
BAT Press Release, 4/5/2011..
Nicoventures Ltd. plans to develop tobacco-free nicotine products, Kate Matrunola, a spokeswoman for London-based BAT, said today. The unit employs four people and will discuss with regulators what sort of products might work, she said by phone.
Restrictions on advertising and marketing may be a challenge to smoking substitutes, according to analysts.
“The biggest obstacles will be regulatory,” Erik Bloomquist, an analyst at Berenberg Bank in London, said by phone. “The mindset in much of public health around tobacco is quit or die, not harm-reduction.” Adrian Marshall, who previously led a program at BAT that sought to develop less-risky alternatives to cigarettes, will head the unit. Two of the other employees previously worked at Swedish Match AB and one worked with smoking cessation brands in the U.K., according to Nicoventures’s website.
The U.K. tobacco company and Swedish Match have lobbied the European Union to lift a ban on selling snus, a moist form of snuff legal in Sweden, in other countries in the region. (Swedish SNUS - European Union not about any time soon to legalize the use of snus..)
Nicoventures said it aims for the products to give smokers “much of the experience they expect to get from a cigarette.” “The grail is a product that replicates as closely as possible the sensations and rituals of smoking,” Berenberg’s Bloomquist said .
Altria Inc. said Jan. 31 it will try selling new smokeless products in test markets throughout the U.S. About a quarter of smokers are interested in smokeless tobacco alternatives to cigarettes, according to the Richmond, Virginia-based company. (Altria companies to test new smokeless tobacco stick..)
BAT’s other harm-reduction projects continue, and the company’s “core business” remains tobacco, Matrunola said. The maker of the Kent and Pall Mall brands said in April 2009 it was beginning clinical tests on a cigarette prototype that might have fewer health risks. BAT will provide more information on the tests “soon,” Matrunola said, without elaborating.
Reference: BAT to Develop ‘Safer’ Nicotine Products for Long-Term Useby Tom Mulier (email@example.com, editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri (firstname.lastname@example.org), 4/5/2011.