We are currently witnessing the biggest consumer shift in our history, with millions of smokers around the world choosing to switch to less harmful Next Generation Products (NGP). 

NGPs offer smokers alternatives to combustible tobacco and are broadly divided into two categories: vapour products and heated tobacco products.

We are significantly stepping up our level of NGP activity in 2018 and beyond, expanding our portfolio with new product launches in new and existing markets.

Our work in this area prioritises vapour, by far the largest NGP category opportunity and the one we believe offers the greatest current potential for long-term sustainable growth.

We are building on the strong foundations and capabilities we have established over recent years.

To keep up with the latest on our NGP developments, scroll down to the news section on this page or follow us on Twitter @ImperialBrands


Our NGP Report From Tobacco to Something Better was published for the first time in May 2018, providing a comprehensive overview of our approach to NGP.

We are increasingly focusing our attention on developing and expanding our NGP portfolio, and want to reduce the health impact of tobacco by encouraging smokers to switch to products with lower health risks. Our report charts the progress we're making in transitioning consumers from tobacco to something better.


“We are significantly stepping up our level of NGP activity in 2018 and beyond, expanding our portfolio with new product launches in new and existing markets.”

Matthew Phillips, Chief Development Officer


Vapour is by far the largest and most developed opportunity within NGP. It is estimated that sales of vapour products, also known as e-cigarettes, are currently worth around $4 billion a year and could be worth more than $30 billion by 2020.

We are represented in this category by blu, which has strong positions in the USA and UK – the world’s two largest vapour markets. Through our Fontem Ventures subsidary, blu products are also sold in France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia and will be available in a total of 20 markets by the end of our 2019 financial year.

In blu, we have one of the best vapour brands in the world and we continue to focus on improving the consumer experience.

There are four main vapour product formats: closed systems, which use a prefilled cartridge of liquid; open systems, where the consumer fills the device with a liquid; open customisable systems which allow different components to be selected by the consumer; and pod systems, which are quick and easy-to-use devices that fill a gap between early generation closed system devices and high performance open system devices. Pod system devices generally feature either a closed ‘pod’ containing a pre-filled liquid or empty pods that can be refilled.

Vaping technology is continually evolving and in October 2017 we substantially enhanced our technical capabilities with the acquisition of Nerudia, a business with a strong track record of developing innovative vapour and nicotine products.

This built on the acquisition of vapour assets from Dragonite in 2013 and we continue to secure intellectual property royalties from companies using our first generation technology.


Exhaled e-vapour particles evaporate in seconds - study

23 July 2018

A new peer-reviewed study shows that exhaled e-vapour product particles are actually liquid droplets that evaporate within seconds.

Flavours are key to smokers switching to vaping - US study

9 July 2018

New peer-reviewed research shows that flavours play a critical role in attracting – and retaining – smokers into the vaping category, directly contributing to tobacco harm reduction

US adult smokers don't believe vaping is less harmful than smoking

15 June 2018

Smokers who may benefit from switching to e-cigarettes are not getting the message, according to Fontem Ventures analysis of latest data.

Toxicant levels up to 99% less in myblu aerosols

11 June 2018

A new aerosol chemistry study has revealed toxicant levels in myblu pod system e-cigarette aerosols are up to 99% lower than in cigarette smoke.


Vapour 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 committed to making a significant contribution to the growing body of research around vaping 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 vapour products. 

As a responsible tobacco manufacturer we believe that how we fulfil our obligations to consumers is important. Our investment in furthering our scientific understanding and expertise is a key element for us to deliver quality products, now and in the future.

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.


Heated tobacco is a smaller NGP category but one that is growing, most notably in Japan. We do not sell these products but continue to monitor their development.

We have developed options in heated tobacco which can be deployed should the category start showing broader signs of significant and sustainable growth.

Unlike vapour products, heated tobacco products contain tobacco and in our view should therefore be regulated and taxed as conventional tobacco products.