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BAT Going Medicinal Route with eCigs

The New Scientist recently released an opinion piece about the odd position big tobacco is in actively promoting tobacco harm reduction. Naturally, it’s understandable considering these companies were kind of jerks in the mid 20th century when people started figuring out cigarettes aren’t that great for you. But, that’s not really the interesting part of the article. It turns out British American Tobacco which acquired an e-cigarette company at the end of last year is going to try and have their ecigs certified as medicinal products in the UK.

There are still unanswered scientific questions, including how e-cigarettes compare with existing medicines such as nicotine patches. That will form a big part of the debate on whether to license them as a medicine.

Long-term safety is also open to question, as is whether they will serve as a “gateway” product attracting new people to smoking, and if their use in public places will renormalise smoking at a time when it is increasingly frowned upon.

I’m sure there are other plans for companies with the connections and finances to try something similar, maybe even with the FDA. But, as far as I know, nobody has really been up front. And interestingly, should the EU go through with its insane tobacco regulation plans, this would give BAT a ridiculous competitive advantage in Europe.

Updated: October 23, 2014 — 1:34 pm
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