Already well established in France with e-cigarettes including the last Epen 3, the giant British American Tobacco would like to dialogue with the French state as is done in the United Kingdom. In a recent interview published in the weekly magazine " strategies«, Richard Bakker, the director for Western Europe from British American Tobacco reveals the tobacco producer's ambitions for the e-cigarette.
In this interview published yesterday in the weekly magazine « strategies«, Richard Bakker does not hide the ambitions of the giant "British American Tobacco". While some stakeholders view tobacco companies as opportunistic, BAT's Western Europe Director does not hesitate to recall the company's involvement in the e-cigarette for many years: " We have started on this market since 2012, and on the 2,5 billion dollars invested over the last six years in terms of R & D to develop new products or new brands, a large part relates to vaping products. They contain nicotine, but no tobacco. »
« Our challenge is to accompany the transition. - Richard Bakker
Moreover, Richard Bakker takes the opportunity to present the latest born: " In France, we have just launched the ePen 3, a premium product of our brand Vype, on which we worked a lot on design and materials. This is an important launch for us because France is our third market for vaping, behind the United States and the United Kingdom. »
The Director for Western Europe of BAT also reminds that you should not mix everything together: " Do not confuse the e-cigarette with tobacco products to heat, which we do not sell in France, but only in Japan, Switzerland and Quebec. ". Regarding the sale of cigarettes, British American Tobacco is clear and prefers to talk about cohabitation rather than stop sales:
« Unlike our main competitor, Philip Morris, we do not think that the conventional cigarette market will completely disappear. But, yes, sales will decline sharply in Europe. In the long term, we believe that both markets will coexist. This is a less "sexy" vision, for the media, no doubt, but which seems more realistic. "
"THE VAPOTAGE MARKET IS VERY PROMISING! "
« Our challenge is to accompany the transition. On this subject Richard Bakker seems rather clear adding in passing that " The vaping market is very promising: it represents in the world 14 billion dollars today. And from here 2020, it will be 30 billion. Most new entrants are old-fashioned cigarettes. This is a historic moment for the sector, consumers have the choice to have a similar experience while reducing risks. »
« We can not talk to the state. We want the same level of dialogue as in the UK.. - Richard Bakker
And British American Tobacco obviously seems to be investing to continue to prove the health of the electronic cigarette: " We have our own peer-reviewed studies that compare steam and cigarette smoke. And the first is less harmful. All these searches are public and available on our website. We are very transparent about that. But what we need is a study on long-term effects, over three years, which is underway.".
Like other companies, associations or unions affiliated to vaping, Richard Bakker deplores the difficulty of dialogue with the French state on this important subject: " We want to dialogue with the state. So that independent public studies are carried out and that ours are not the only ones. In the UK, a large public study, compiling a total of 255 scientific studies, whether from home or elsewhere, was conducted by the Ministry of Health. (...) A plan has been put in place by the Ministry of Health on this topic, to promote the e-cigarette as a product that helps stop, and push the research on the impact of vaping. But in France, it's impossible.". He adds " We want research to be done so that the consumer is properly informed and rules are put in place. »
« There is now a way to support the consumer towards a potentially less harmful product.. - Richard Bakker
For BAT's Western Europe Director, there is today a problem with the legal framework for vaping in France " Today, the legal framework is not adapted. For example, "nicotine-free" vaping products are subject to more flexible regulation, with little control and traceability, compared to nicotine liquids. In addition, the communication of vaping products is limited to A5 in-store formats, as for conventional tobacco products. All this is a problem! The consumer is not properly informed, and we find that a shame.".
Richard Bakker would like France to follow the all-out path of his neighbor across the Channel: " The country implements the precautionary principle, but result, makes no decision. The UK has been more pragmatic, and is moving forward to better discern risks and benefits.".
source : Strategies