What is harm reduction?
The idea of harm reduction is well–established within public health. It is about minimising the impact of an activity that people know is risky, but without necessarily stopping it completely.
Tobacco harm reduction is about providing a choice of viable, less risky alternatives for the millions of smokers who find it difficult to, or do not wish to, stop using nicotine.
It’s only relatively recently – with the rise in popularity of e–cigarettes – that it’s moved from a concept to a global reality.
Our product development
We are committed to developing a range of next-generation tobacco and nicotine products across the risk continuum. This will allow adult consumers to have a choice of less risky alternatives to regular cigarettes, which can ultimately benefit public health, while also supporting the future growth of our business.
We think we are best placed to deliver alternative products. We have a separate business focusing exclusively on nicotine products, we understand what consumers want, we have world-class research and development capabilities, and we have robust product and quality standards. We also have global reach and a clear commitment to market our products responsibly.
In 2013, we were the first international tobacco company to launch an e-cigarette, Vype, in the UK.
Since then, we have further increased our understanding of the needs of consumers and developed the range to better meet their expectations.
In 2014, we launched two new innovative products – Vype eStick and Vype ePen.
We will continue investing substantially in the research, development and commercialisation of a pipeline of products. We will also use the insights from our experience in the UK to support Vype’s launch in further markets.
Medicinal nicotine products
We are also looking at nicotine products that are regulated as medicines, including a new nicotine inhalation product called Voke.
This innovative product does not require batteries or any other energy source and is activated simply by inhaling.
Following receipt of the relevant licences from the UK medicines regulator, we are the first tobacco company to have a nicotine product licensed as a medicine.
We plan to commercialise and launch Voke in the UK by the end of 2015.
Tobacco heating products heat the tobacco rather than burning it, so fewer smoke toxicants are produced than with conventional cigarettes, making them a potentially less risky option.
Our associate company Reynolds American developed its first product in this category in the 1980s. However, at the time, this did not prove popular.
Today, there is much greater consumer interest in a new generation of alternative tobacco products. Technology has moved on too and we are currently working on products designed to have much wider consumer appeal for smokers.
By the end of 2015, we plan to begin extended consumer trials of an upgraded version of an existing product. We hope to have our first tobacco heating product in a test market in 2016.
We will also continue working on an innovations pipeline of consumer relevant tobacco heating products for the future.