NEXT GENERATION PRODUCTS
Our aim is to increasingly transition smokers to our Next Generation Product (NGP) portfolio; products that are potentially less harmful than combustible cigarettes.
We are currently witnessing the biggest consumer shift in our history, with millions of smokers around the world transitioning to potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.
We want smokers to choose products with lower health risks and encourage them to make that change by providing an portfolio of high quality NGP products, all underpinned by leading-edge science.
At the heart of our NGP portfolio is the pioneering vapour brand, blu.
Beyond vapour we are continuing to strengthen our multi-category approach, extending our presence in heated tobacco and modern oral nicotine.
To keep up with NGP developments, see the news section on this page or follow us on Twitter @ImperialBrands
Vapour products are battery-powered devices that heat e-liquids to create a vapour which is inhaled by the user. E-liquids are produced in varying nicotine strengths, with nicotine-free variants also available.
These products are fundamentally different from all tobacco-based products and devices; they do not contain tobacco leaf.
A growing number of regulators and public health bodies have concluded that vapour products are less harmful alternatives to smoking and therefore have a role to play in reducing tobacco-related disease. In the UK, for example, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians have concluded that vaping is substantially less harmful than smoking.
We are represented in the vaping category by the pioneering brand blu, which is managed by our Fontem Ventures business and celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2019.
blu has strong established positions in the USA and UK, the world’s two largest vapour markets, and is available in a growing number of other countries including France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain.
Vapour products fall into two broad sub-categories: closed or open systems. Closed systems include the fast-growing pod format; simple-to-use devices such as myblu which feature a pre-filled pod of e-liquid to combine power with portability. Open systems enable the user to refill the e-liquid.
NGP technology is evolving quickly and we substantially enhanced our scientific and technical capabilities in 2017 with the acquisition of the innovation business Nerudia.
Nerudia is focused on developing a pipeline of NGP innovations that will accelerate smoker conversion rates and stop smokers reverting to tobacco.
The investment built on our acquisition of the global patent portfolio for vapour technologies from the original inventor of the e-cigarette Hon Lik in 2013. Mr Hon was welcomed to our business as the head of our Research and Development team in China – a position he still holds to this day.
We are committed to making a significant contribution to the growing body of research around vaping and other products. This includes assessing their safety and demonstrating the potential to reduce the risk of diseases associated with smoking when adult smokers switch to our NGP.
We set high standards to meet the ever-evolving needs of consumers and regulators, and to enable the development of new and potentially safer products.
We have added to our growing repertoire of NGP products with our Pulze heated tobacco device and ID heat sticks, which were launched in a city pilot in Fukuoka, Japan, in 2019. A national rollout continues and we are also assessing other potential market launches.
As the name implies, these products heat a portion or rod of tobacco, releasing nicotine and other tobacco emissions at substantially lower levels than cigarettes.
Through our Skruf brand, we have a strong position in snus, an oral tobacco product with a long history of use in Scandinavia.
We are expanding our presence in the next generation of oral nicotine products, growing sales of tobacco-free and other variants across northern Europe in Germany, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland, with plans to expand further.