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iFuse to Join BAT’s Vype, Voke

LONDON — British American Tobacco (BAT) plans to test a hybrid product that combines tobacco and electronic-cigarette technology in a European market, a senior executive recently told Reuters.

The product, called iFuse, will use elements of the company’s Kent brand, and it will be sold in a market where Kent cigarettes are popular. Executives declined to say precisely which market that will be.

The test is the latest in a line of cigarette alternatives sold by big tobacco firms like BAT, Philip Morris International, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, who are jostling for position in an emerging category and trying to offset the decline of the tobacco market, said the report.

Like an e-cigarette, the iFuse heats nicotine-laced liquid into an inhalable vapor, but the vapor passes through a bit of tobacco near the tip that imparts flavor, Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s managing director of next-generation products, told the news agency.

Philip Morris also has a tobacco-based vapor product that uses what it calls Marlboro Heatsticks.

The companies say the products avoid the burning that causes the release of chemicals.

Relative to BAT’s other tobacco-only vapor product, the iFuse is “simpler to use, more compact, more convenient, neater, cleaner and probably attracts a lower excise position,” Wheaton said.

Excise tax is often calculated using the amount of tobacco.

BAT’s other cigarette alternatives include the Vype e-cigarette and the Voke nicotine inhaler, which is licensed as a stop-smoking product.

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