NEXT GENERATION PRODUCTS
Our aim is to increasingly transition smokers to our Next Generation Product (NGP) portfolio; products that are significantly less harmful than combustible cigarettes.
We are currently witnessing the biggest consumer shift in our history, with millions of smokers around the world choosing to switch to less harmful NGP.
As a result we are increasingly focusing our attention on developing and expanding our NGP portfolio, providing smokers with alternative products in different categories.
NGP offer smokers alternatives to combustible tobacco and are broadly divided into three main categories: vapour, heated tobacco and oral nicotine. Hybrid devices combining non-combustible and vapour technologies also exist.
Our work in this area prioritises vapour, the largest and most developed NGP category opportunity and the one we believe offers the greatest potential for long-term sustainable growth.
We want smokers to switch to alternative products with lower health risks. We encourage them to make that change by providing an outstanding vaping experience, underpinned by leading-edge science and high-quality innovation.
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 Creating Something Better for the World's Smokers was published for the first time in May 2018.
The report provides a comprehensive overview of our approach to NGP, charting the progress that we're making in transitioning consumers from tobacco to something better.
Vapour is by far the largest and most developed opportunity within NGP and we are represented in this category by the pioneering brand blu, which has strong established positions in the USA and UK – the world’s two largest vapour markets.
Through our Fontem Ventures subsidiary, blu products are sold in a growing number of other markets, including France, Germany, Italy and Russia.
In blu, which celebrates its ten-year anniversary in 2019, we have one of the best vapour brands in the world and we continue to focus on providing an outstanding vaping experience.
There are four main vapour product formats. The fastest-growing is the pod system; a convenient format such as myblu which make use of pre-filled pods of liquid that simply click into the device.
The other main formats are closed systems, 'cig-a-like' devices which feature a pre-filled cartridge of liquid; open systems, where the consumer fills the device with a liquid; and open customisable systems which allow different components to be selected by the consumer.
Vaping technology is continually evolving and in 2017 we substantially enhanced our technical capabilities with the acquisition of Nerudia, a research and development business based in Liverpool in the UK with a strong track record of vapour and nicotine product innovation.
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.
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.
Underpinned by our leading-edge science, 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.
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 heated tobacco Pulze, which was launched in a city pilot in Fukuoka, Japan, in May 2019.
For us, this creates greater optionality in parts of the world where vaping is not permitted or where smokers prefer heated tobacco.
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 making good early progress in expanding our presence in the next generation of oral nicotine products, growing sales of tobacco-free and other variants in Scandinavia, Austria and Russia.