British American Tobacco drops its nicotine inhaler Voke to prioritise vapour and tobacco heating products

Courtney Goldsmith
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BAT wants to focus on the growing market for e-cigarettes and tobacco heating products
BAT wants to focus on the growing market for e-cigarettes and tobacco heating products (Source: Getty)

British American Tobacco (BAT) today announced it would drop its medical nicotine inhaler Voke to focus more directly on products like e-cigarettes aimed at consumers.

BAT said it will give up its manufacturing, intellectual property and know-how assets to Kind Consumer, from which it licensed the product, in return for deferred, contingent payments.

No financial details were disclosed.

Read more: Tobacco firm to put quitting aid on the market

Kind will take back ownership for the commercialisation of Voke, which was the first device of its kind to be approved as a medical prescription to people trying to quit smoking.

Like e-cigarettes, Voke uses liquid nicotine, but it does not use a battery to heat it into a vapour.

Manufacturing issues have delayed the commercial launch of the inhaler, which was supposed to hit the market in 2016.

Read more: GPs don't believe e-cigarettes should be available on prescription

Kind chief executive Paul Triniman said the company will be looking for a new global partner or several regional partners to speed up distribution this year.

Kingsley Wheaton, managing director of next generation products at BAT, said Kind's focus and single-mindedness will bring about a quicker commercialisation of the product.

BAT on the other hand will focus on its Vype e-cigarette and glo tobacco heating products, which are broadly considered to be safer than traditional cigarettes.

Read more: The UK's e-cigarette market could be worth more than £4bn by 2021

BAT, the world's second-largest international tobacco company, is also in talks of a $47bn (£37bn) takeover of US cigarette maker Reynolds American.

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