Tobacco group promises smokers ‘safer’ products

A RANGE of nicotine products aimed at people seeking a “safer” alternative to cigarettes are to be developed by an international tobacco group.

Nicoventures Ltd, a new unit of tobacco giant British American Tobacco Plc (BAT), plans to develop tobacco-free nicotine products that will give smokers “much of the experience they expect to get from a cigarette”.

Nicoventures aims to provide smokers with a range of alternative products — currently unavailable on the market — that will offer the experience of a cigarette but without the serious health risks.

BAT spokeswoman Kate Matrunola said there is a market for the products because there is “an un-met need for consumers who don’t want to quit”.

Nicoventures said the first products would not be like existing cigarette substitutes such as electronic cigarettes, nicotine patches and gums, but refused to reveal how exactly the tobacco-free nicotine products would work.

Tobacco companies are increasingly offering alternatives to cigarettes, including many smokeless-tobacco products, such as Swedish-style “snus”, amid declining cigarette sales in some markets and continued scrutiny by regulators.

However, restrictions on advertising and marketing remain a challenge to smoking substitutes, according to analysts.

Berenberg Bank analyst Erik Bloomquist said the biggest obstacles will be regulatory.

He said: “The mindset in much of public health around tobacco is quit or die, not harm-reduction.”

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