Heated Tobacco Products: British American Tobacco

This page was last edited on at
An image of BAT's glo devices

Image 1: Selection of BAT’s glo HTP devices (screenshot taken from discoverglo.jp, November 2019)

Due to its focus on e-cigarettes, BAT entered the HTP market later than its competitors Philip Morris International (PMI) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

Products

i-Fuse

In 2015, BAT launched its first HTP product, iFuse, a hybrid product that heated an e-liquid to around 30°C, to create a vapour that is passed through a tobacco pod (similar to JTI’s PloomTech).1 iFuse is no longer available and was superseded by glo.

Glo

Glo is BAT’s flagship HTP. It was first test marketed in Sendai, Japan, in December 2016.23 In 2017, the product was rolled out nationally in Japan and also introduced in other countries. 4 Glo uses a battery operated device to heat tobacco sticks to around 240-280°C.5 BAT’s sticks are called Neostiks and sold under its cigarette brand Kent and new brand Neo.6

BAT claimed that glo was “a real game changer for consumers”,3 and “a simpler and more practical alternative to IQOS.”7 In 2019, glo was available in three versions (image 1): the glo Pro, glo Nano, and the glo Sens. The Sens was a hybrid like the iFuse, although by 2021 it appeared to have been withdrawn.8 Glo is not as widely distributed as BAT’s e-cigarettes, although it said it aimed for glo to be the “fastest growing THP brand”, challenging PMI’s dominant product IQOS. In 2020 BAT launched glo Hyper, with “induction heating”, first in Japan, the Russia and Ukraine.8

BAT’s key markets for glo remain Japan and South Korea (together forming the bulk of the global market for HTPs)9 ]5 although Russia, Italy and Romania appear to be of increasing significance to the company.5 BAT has also reported trial marketing in Kazakhstan, Serbia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Canada, Bulgaria, and Switzerland.1011 In late 2019, BAT said it was “getting more and more traction in glo across Eastern Europe”.12 In March 2020, The Guardian reported that BAT was advertising glo on Facebook in Poland and Romania, in contravention of the platform’s policy.13 (It was also promoting its e-cigarettes through its social media accounts, after a clamp-down on the use of social media influencers.13 For more information see E-cigarettes: British American Tobacco.)

As of 2023, BAT stated that glo was available in 31 markets.14

In July 2022, BAT launched its glo Hyper X2 device, initially in Japan.15 In February 2023 it launched the product in South Korea, in direct competition with PMI’s IQOS and KT&G’s lil heated tobacco products, which dominate the market.1617 It was reported in local media that the company was promoting the new product with “a wide range of experiential marketing, from alcoholic beverages … to pop-up stores”.[translated from Korean]18 In 2023, BAT launched glo Hyper Air (available in 23 markets by the end of 2023), followed by the glo Hyper Pro (available in Italy and Poland by the end of 2023).14

Eclipse/ Neocore

In mid-2018, BAT had appeared to be intending to launch a HTP called Eclipse in the US.19 This was the brand name of a carbon-tipped product originally developed by Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) in 2014 (later renamed Revo), which the company had shelved in 2015.20 In 2017, BAT said it had received a “substantial equivalence” clearance from the FDA for Eclipse, which would enable it to launch the product in the US without a Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA), on the basis that it was essentially the same as RAI’s previously commercialised product.1920 BAT had previously said it was going to submit a PMTA to the FDA for glo.21 (PMI was granted such permission in April 2019 for its IQOS.) 22 In 2018, BAT received FDA approval for Eclipse, now renamed Neocore.232425

It is unclear what BAT’s plans are for either glo or Neocore in the US. Bowles previously indicated that he was in no rush to put glo on the US market, with e-cigarettes being the dominant newer product, and “oral tobacco” (presumably Velo) having “a very big potential in the US”.26 In 2021 BAT submitted a PMTA application to the U.S. FDA for glo, followed by a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application, which if granted permits reduced-risk marketing, in December 2023.27 In 2024, it was reported BAT stated it still saw limited potential for HTPs in the US and the company will remain focused on e-cigarettes.28

According to the Financial Times, in 2019 BAT had “ambitions to build its global heated tobacco share from 10 per cent to 25-35 per cent by 2024”.29 Although BAT appeared to gain some market share from PMI between 2017 and 2018, by 2019 PMI was regaining lost ground.930 In 2021, BAT remained below its target, holding 15.3% of the market.31  For more on the global HTP market and company shares see: Heated Tobacco Products

Non-tobacco product to circumvent regulation

In October 2023, BAT announced that it had launched a new non-tobacco stick for glo, called veo. Made with Rooibos tea leaves, and infused with nicotine and flavours, it was launched first in the Czech Republic, then other EU countries.3233 By the end of 2023, veo was available in 11 markets.14 It appeared that this product was developed in order to circumvent regulations which apply to heat sticks containing tobacco, specifically potential bans on flavours.3334 BAT declined a request from Reuters to comment on the implications for health of inhaling this product.34

Fined for misleading advertising

In February 2024, Italy’s competition authority, the AGCM, fined BAT €6 million (US$6.4 million) for misleading advertising relating to BAT’s HTPs.35 According to Reuters, BAT had failed to provide enough information to consumers about nicotine levels and health risks from Glo Hyper products. BAT was reported to be appealing the decision.36

For more information on BAT’s products and strategy see Newer Nicotine Products: British American Tobacco

See the page on Harm Reduction for an explanation of how the tobacco industry makes use of the language of public health to advance its commercial objectives.

See also the BAT section on Industry Approaches to Science on Newer Products.

Tobacco Tactics Resources

Relevant links

TCRG Research

For a comprehensive list of all TCRG publications, including TCRG research that evaluates the impact of public health policy, go to the Bath TCRG’s list of publications.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

References

  1. Vapor from novel hybrid tobacco heating product produces little or no effect on human cells, news-medical.net, 5 June 2017, accessed July 2017
  2. BAT’s entry an opening salvo in smokeless-tobacco war in Japan, Nikkei Asian Review, 31 May 2017, accessed February 2020
  3. abBAT Sheds Light on Glo, CSP Daily News, 27 March 2017, accessed July 2017
  4. L. Du, BAT’s Glo Roll-Out in Japan Sets Up Three-Way War for Smokers, Bloomberg News, 30 May 2017, accessed July 2017
  5. abcBritish American Tobacco, Accelerating a Better Tomorrow, Annual Report, 2021, Available from the BAT.com
  6. Euromonitor International. HTP (Heated Tobacco Products)- Hot Prospect? Briefing 24 April 2017 (behind paywall)
  7. D. Caruana, BAT launches Glo in South Korea, Vapingpost.com, 15 August 2017, accessed September 2017
  8. abBritish American Tobacco, Building the Enterprise of the Future: Annual Report and Form 20-F 2020, April 2020
  9. abEuromonitor International: Global tobacco, 2019 (paywall)
  10. N. Durante, Analyst Briefing, British American Tobacco, 16 October 2018, accessed November 2019
  11. P. Lageweg, “Step-Changing New Categories: A very significant growth opportunity”, British American Tobacco Investor Day Presentation, BAT website, 14 March 2019, accessed February 2020
  12. British American Tobacco, 2019 Second Half Pre-Close Trading Update, Conference call transcript, 27 November 2019, accessed February 2020
  13. abS. Marsh, British American Tobacco circumventing ad ban, experts say, The Guardian, 17 March 2020, accessed March 2020
  14. abcBritish American Tobacco, 2023 Combined Annual and Sustainability Report, Annual Report, 2023, Available from bat.com
  15. British American Tobacco, BAT launches glo™ hyper X2: latest, state-of-the-art heated tobacco product, press release, 21 July 2021, accessed February 2022
  16. S. Woo-hyun, BAT launches new Glo to take on KT&G, PMI, Korea Herald, 14 February 2023, accessed February 2023
  17. K. Jae-heun, BAT Rothmans releases glo Hyper X2, Korea Times, 14 February 2023, accessed February 2023
  18. How does the homemade beer made by the electronic cigarette ‘BAT Glo’ taste? open the popup, fnnews.com, 22 February 2023, accessed February 2023 [in Korean]
  19. abBAT shares surge on plans to launch heated tobacco in the US, CNBC, 26 July 2018, accessed December 2019
  20. abTobacco Vapour Electronic Cigarette Association, Reynolds pursues another restart with revamped heat-not-burn cigarette Eclipse, TVECA website, 2 November 2017, accessed December 2019
  21. S.Chaudhuri, BAT to submit FDA application to sell Glo in U.S., MarketWatch, 27 July 2017, accessed September 2017
  22. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA permits sale of IQOS Tobacco Heating System through premarket tobacco product application pathway, US FDA website, 30 April 2019, accessed November 2019
  23. A. Anderson, British American Tobacco Ahead in US Vaping Battle, vaping.com, 30 July 2018, accessed February 2020
  24. S. Chambers, BAT Gets Leg Up on Marlboro in U.S. Heated-Tobacco Race, Bloomberg, 26 July 2018, accessed February 2020 (paywall)
  25. British American Tobacco, Tobacco Heating Products, BAT website, undated, accessed February 2020
  26. J. Bowles, T. Marroco, 2019 Half Year Results Presentation Transcription, BAT website, 1 August 2019, accessed November 2019
  27. Cigarette giant BAT makes move on US heated tobacco market, Market Screener, 9 February 2024, accessed April 2024
  28. IQOS USA: Market Potential, Tobacco Insider, 24 March 2024, accessed April 2024
  29. PMI/heated tobacco: burning question, Financial Times, 1 May 2019, accessed February 2020 (behind paywall)
  30. Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products, ‘”Addiction At Any Cost: Philip Morris International Uncovered”, STOP report, 20 February 2020,accessed February 2020
  31. Euromonitor International, World Tobacco data to 2021, accessed January 2023
  32. British American Tobacco Germany, BAT launches the pioneering tobacco-free veo range, press release, 14 September 2023
  33. abHeated Tobacco Products, Tobacco Insider, 9 October 2023, accessed October 2023
  34. abE. Rumney, Big Tobacco turns to rooibos tea to counter upcoming ban, Reuters, 16 October 2023, accessed October 2023
  35. Italian watchdog fines BAT and Amazon over misleading advertising, Reuters, 14 February 2024, accessed February 2024
  36. A. Hoffman, A. Brambilla, BAT to Appeal Italy Ruling Alleging Deceptive Advertising, BNN Bloomberg, 14 February 2024, accessed February 2024