We previously brought you Big Tobacco’s Vaping Creep, which exposed the intrusion into the e-cigarette industry from the world’s largest tobacco companies. British American Tobacco (BAT), Phillip Morris International (PMI) and Imperial Brands were a few of the tobacco powerhouses that had acquired independent vape companies in order to gain a foothold in the e-cigarette industry.

Imperial Brands, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International (PMI)

Imperial Brands had previously made some large scale takeovers, including the purchase of Blu e-cigs and the acquisition of Dragonite (along with its intellectual property rights). They have now added to their vaping portfolio by buying Nerudia, a Liverpool based e-liquid producer that also works with manufacturers to ensure they are compliant with regulation.

It seems as though Imperial is trying to keep up with two of its key competitors, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Phillip Morris International (PMI), which are both investing huge amounts of money in both e-cigarette products and Heat not Burn (HnB) technology. BAT have recently forecast sales of £1bn from its ‘Next Generation Products’ which features both e-cigarettes and it’s HnB product, Glo. PMI have also been bold with their approach to vapour products by investing heavily in IQOS, its HnB product.

Imperial had previously shown no signs of breaking into the HnB market, however the Tobacco giant on Tuesday 7th November saw shares rise by 2.5% as Imperial announced it would begin small-scale trials of products that heat rather than burn tobacco.

Imperial Chief Development Officer Matthew Phillips said “It’s important to maintain optionality on both oral tobacco and heated tobacco products because there may inevitably be scenarios in which it makes sense to launch one or both, but our focus is on e-vapour”.

These strategic developments from Imperial undoubtedly come as a result of the steady decline of cigarette sales and while this decline is a huge boost for public health, placing one of the key solvers of a problem straight in to the hands of the causers of said problem could potentially be very damaging for the vaping industry and consequently for public health.