BAT Launches Nicoventures to create innovative nicotine products

Published on May 3rd, 2011 11:12

British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second biggest privately-owned tobacco company according to international market share, established a division that will be engaged in development nicotine-containing products for people willing to have an alternative to cigarette smoking, at the time when governments seek to decrease or even eliminate tobacco consumption.

The maker of Lucky Strike, Dunhill and Vogue confirmed last week that it has created an start-up unit Nicoventures Limited, which will concentrate efforts solely on development and marketing of innovative nicotine products, regulatory approved for consumption.


Nicoventures Ltd. is going to develop smoke-free nicotine products, according to Kate Matrunola, the spokesperson of BAT, headquartered in London. Currently the newly-created company employs five people and will focus on discussing with the officials which products could be approved, said the spokeswoman. “The company would not target cessation market,” Matrunola admitted. “There is an unfulfilled demand out there for adult consumers” who have no intention to quit.

Major tobacco groups have spent many years attempting to create healthier alternatives to cigarettes. Thus, RJR Nabisco Inc test-marketed a smokeless cigarette brand, named Premier in 1988. Another company, Virginia-based Star Scientific Inc. admitted several weeks ago that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave the company green light to start sales of smoke-freee tobacco lozenges

In the meantime, the international cigarette market, excluding China, where foreign cigarette makers are not allowed, will likely to drop about 2.5 percent this year, according to recently-appointed British American Tobacco CEO, Nicandro Durante. However, stringent regulations of marketing could be a major problem for smoking alternatives, believe industry analysts. “The primary challenges will be regulatory,” Erik Bloomquist, a senior analyst at City Bank admitted. “The milestone in the majority of public health organizations over smoking is either quit or die, not reduce harm.”

Adrian Marshall, who headed a program at British American Tobacco, became the president of the company. Other two employees worked at Swedish Match AB in the past, and the final member of the team was working with smoking cessation products, said BAT spokesperson.

Nicoventures declared it intends to create the products to provide adult smokers “similar experience to that they receive from a cigarette.” “The core is a to create product that resembles as closely as possible the feeling and practices of cigarette smoking,” Bloomquist admitted.

Altria Inc., the parent company of Philip Morris USA, leading tobacco group in the USA declared it launched test marketing of its new smokeless tobacco products across the United States. Figures show that nearly 25 percent of adult smokers are interested in smoke-free tobacco products as alternatives to cigarettes.

British American Tobacco’s other less-harmful projects will be continued, and the group’s key business remains tobacco products, according to Kate Matrunola. The company, which markets such iconic brands as Kent and Pall Mall stated two years ago that it was starting clinical tests of cigarette alternatives that could carry less health risks. BAT is going to provide the information on its innovative projects in the nearest future, according to the information on the official website.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved.

Related tags: american tobacco | British American Tobacco | nicotine addiction | nicotine

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