Giant tobacco firms are attempting to re-invent their products in the face of relentless onslaughts coming from government regulators and health experts, which have been actively pushing to limit the world's smoking incidence in the past decade, report said.
Giant tobacco firms are attempting to re-invent their products in the face of relentless onslaughts coming from government regulators and health experts, which have been actively pushing to limit the world’s smoking incidence in the past decade, report said.
The Financial Times reported on Sunday that cigarette manufacturers were being forced to innovate in order to protect a global industry that by the last count has generated some $664 billion in revenues as of the end of 2011.
The estimates were provided by industry analytic firm Euromonitor International, FT said.
The tobacco industry has shored up economies and generated countless jobs for host countries, cigarette producers said, but the benefits far-outweighed the downsides due to costly and deadly health hazards attributed to smoking, which is a sentiment shared by governments and medical experts.
Campaigns against cigarette smoking has been more pronounced in the developed markets which led to the disappearance of tobacco product adverts in economies like the United States and Australia save for minimal promotional activities.
But in 2011, the Australian government pushed the envelope further as its Parliament passed new laws that would prohibit tobacco products from being marketed with their popular brand names.
In their stead, cigarette packs will hit store shelves in drab packaging plus the already familiar graphic health reminders that tell smokers of the complications they were courting in every stick they light.
The case was being challenged by tobacco firms before the Australian High Court and a decision is expected before year-end, with experts predicting of a favourable ruling for Canberra.
And as the legal battles rage, giant producers such as Philip Morris International (PMI), British American Tobacco (BAT), Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and Imperial Tobacco look for alternative cigarette products that would keep their factories humming as political environment become increasingly hostile to their business.
But the companies were not bent to launch an epic clash with governments and as FT reported, the main agenda is to convince users that smoking could be enjoyed in different ways and will less health concerns.
The common goal for tobacco producers is to issue commercially viable smoke-free cigarettes that consumers would find affordable and suitable to their taste.
Tobacco firms hoped that less smokes would make the case for worry-free smoking habit like the case of PMI, which is working on a cigarette stick that would be heated not burned, doing away with as much tar and smoke as possible, FT reported.
For its part, Imperial is investing heavily on electronic cigarettes, which the company viewed as the growing tobacco market segment, while BAT is poised to release inhalable nicotine that again would eliminate smoke but still satisfy users' demand for the chemical.
It remains unclear though if the circumvent efforts by giant tobacco companies or the substitute products they will introduce over the next two to four years will clear regulatory hurdles and health experts' scrutiny.
Yet what is clear is the tobacco industry's intent of further expanding the smokeless cigarette market, which last year alone delivered revenues of about $14 billion, according to Euromonitor.
As BAT Scientific Director David O'Reilly told FT: "We don't see smokeless cigarettes as being a niche product."
"This will be a major focus going forward - giving cigarette smokers a healthier alternative whilst not compromising on the taste and the sensory pleasure of smoking," Mr O'Reilly declared.
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