Brands could launch heated tobacco product in months if
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[May 03, 2017] LONDON
(Reuters) - Britain's Imperial Brands, the fourth-largest international
tobacco company, remains committed to its pursuit of e-cigarettes as the
best alternative to smoking, but could pivot quickly with a heated
tobacco product within months if proved wrong, a senior executive said
"Our belief is that the opportunity in e-vapour remains bigger than
the opportunity in heated tobacco," said Matthew Phillips,
Imperial's chief development officer. He said Imperial was looking
at heated tobacco even though it wasn't testing a product like
Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco
So far Japan is the most developed market for heated tobacco
products, as it has stricter rules around the nicotine-laced liquids
used in e-cigarettes.
"I'm yet to see the kind of traction outside Japan that would make
me change that view and start following a heated tobacco strategy
more proactively," Phillips said on a conference call with analysts
following the company's half-year results.
"If we have to change our mind because it did start getting
traction, we would be able to follow with an offering within a
number of months."
Phillips said recent innovations in "vaping" and marijuana
technology in the United States means that heated tobacco products
do not need to be in the format in which they are currently sold.
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Phillips said different consumers were using different products,
noting that younger "millennial" consumers tended to use
e-cigarettes, while the tobacco-based products appealed to older
(Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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