Next Generation Products

From TobaccoTactics
Jump to navigationJump to search

The term Next Generation Products (NGPs) has been used by tobacco companies to refer to products other than smoked tobacco; these products are usually described as being less harmful than cigarettes.[1] TobaccoTactics mainly covers the following NGPs: Snus, E-cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Products. It is important to note that, despite increasing investment in NGPs, the core of the global tobacco industry’s business remains unchanged. NGPs form a small proportion of their revenue, compared to traditional tobacco products, and will do so for the foreseeable future.

Products

Although they are often marketed as ‘new’, companies may have been developing and marketing versions of these products for decades, frequently with limited initial consumer acceptance until the 2000s, when tobacco harm reduction became more popular as a public health strategy.

  • Transnational tobacco company investment in snus began in 2002.
  • E-cigarettes have been acquired and developed by tobacco companies since 2012.
  • Heated tobacco products were initially developed in the 1980s and 1990s, with little success, until renewed interest from tobacco companies in 2010.

See Next Generation Products: Tobacco Company Brands for a table listing current products and their brand names, which may vary in different countries.

Tobacco Company Investment and Development Strategies

Individual tobacco companies have different NGP strategies. Although most have a mix of products in their NGP portfolio, Philip Morris International (PMI), for example, has mainly invested in and promoted heated tobacco products. Unsurprisingly it is the market leader in this product category. In contrast, Imperial Tobacco (Imperial Brands from 2017) has long resisted following the same route. Until 2019, it focused solely on expanding its e-cigarette brand blu. Japan Tobacco International (JTI)’s focus has mainly been on developing hybrid products that combine e-cigarette technology with tobacco. British American Tobacco (BAT) has arguably the most diverse portfolio, including e-cigarettes, heated tobacco, and hybrid products. BAT, JTI, and Imperial all have interests in Swedish-style snus and tobacco-free nicotine pouches. For details of investments in NGPs by individual tobacco companies, see:

Can NGPs Help Advance Public Health?

Globally, there is an ongoing debate about the potential role of NGPs in advancing public health. Tobacco companies have claimed an interest in harm reduction as a motivation for developing and marketing these products.[2][3]

However, a study by researchers from the University of Bath’s Tobacco Control Research Group found that the sale and promotion of these products, and the associated harm reduction narrative, serve to “…‘renormalize’ an industry that is determined to be seen as a responsible business with a legitimate product…”.[2] The study also found that the products and narrative are used as tools for tobacco companies to initiate dialogue with scientists, public health experts, politicians and policy makers, thereby re-framing themselves as ‘part of the solution’ rather than being the problem.[2] Therefore, the tobacco industry is using NGPs as a way to try and re-enter the policy arena from which it has increasingly, and successfully, been excluded in line with Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Tobacco company presentations and documents show that the primary motive remains profit; the main driver for growth is conventional tobacco products; and this is likely to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.[4][5][6]

At its 2019 Annual General Meeting PMI’s CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said that, while stating that NGPs are increasingly complementing its cigarette business, the company was “committed to maintaining leadership of the cigarette category” and that it would be “focusing innovation on fewer, more impactful [cigarette] initiatives that can be deployed swiftly in any market”.[7] Similarly, BAT’s CEO Jack Bowles told investors in August 2019: “Our combustible business continues to drive the financial performance of the group and we are performing well”.[8]

  • For more examples of similar industry statements see E-cigarettes.

WHO Urges Caution

The WHO published an information sheet on HTPs in July 2018. It stated that:

“All forms of tobacco use are harmful, including HTPs. Tobacco is inherently toxic and contains carcinogens even in its natural form. Therefore, WHO recommends that HTPs should be subject to the same policy and regulatory measures applied to all other tobacco products, in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).”[9]

In March 2019, the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC issued an Information Note which compiled all Conference of the Parties (COP) decisions related to e-cigarettes. A few months later, the Secretariat released a statement urging governments to remain vigilant, stating that:

“novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products…are creating another layer of interference by the tobacco industry and related industries, which is still reported by Parties as the most serious barrier to progress in implementing the WHO FCTC”.[10]

It also reminded Parties of their obligations under Article 5.3 to protect tobacco control policies and activities from all commercial and vested interests.[10]

TobaccoTactics Resources


TCRG Research


Notes

  1. Imperial Brands, Next Generation Products, 2019, accessed October 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 S. Peeters, A.B. Gilmore, Understanding the emergence of the tobacco industry’s use of the term harm reduction in order to inform public health policy, Tobacco Control, 2015; 24:182-189
  3. Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products, Addiction At Any Cost: Philip Morris International Uncovered, STOP report, 20 February 2020, accessed February 2020
  4. Japan Tobacco Inc., JT Group, 2019 Second-Quarter results, CFP Presentation, 1 August 2019, accessed September 2019
  5. British American Tobacco, Transforming Tobacco, BAT Annual Report 2018
  6. Imperial Tobacco, Building blu, Investor Day Presentation, 25 September 2018
  7. L.C. Camilleri, A. Calantzopoulos, Presentation Slides, Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Philip Morris International, New York, 1 May 2019, PMI website, accessed February 2020
  8. J. Bowles, T. Marroco, 2019 Half Year results Presentation, British American Tobacco website, accessed October 2019
  9. WHO Tobacco Free Initiative, [Heated tobacco products (HTPs) market monitoring information sheet], WHO website, July 2018, accessed February 2020
  10. 10.0 10.1 World Health Organization, The Convention Secretariat calls Parties to remain vigilant towards novel and emerging nicotine and tobacco products, FCTC press release, 13 September 2019, accessed October 2019