1. Business
May 4, 2017updated 05 May 2017 11:18am

Tobacco companies to sell new products amid cigarette crackdown

The world’s fourth largest cigarette maker, UK-based Imperial Brands, announced it is experimenting with caffeine energy products.

Packs of pomegranate-flavoured caffeine powder are being sold in the UK at a cost of £3 ($4) for four doses. One sachet contains 80mg of caffeine, about the same as a double espresso.

Imperial also sells a “roulette” pack, containing an unlabelled spicy chilli sachet.

“We’ve been increasingly looking in other areas,” with a focus on products that would appeal to millennials, said Matthew Phillips, the company’s chief development officer.

“If it goes well, there are other brands and products we could consider. There’s a variety of different options but it is one step at a time,” Phillips added.

The move comes before new anti-tobacco legislation is enforced later this month. From 21 May small packets will be banned in the UK and menthol cigarettes will be phased out by 2020.

Last year, the London High Court rejected an appeal launched by tobacco companies against plain cigarette packaging in the UK.

All packets must be sold in plain brown-grey packaging with pictures showing the harmful effects of smoking covering at least 65 percent of the front and back.

Imperial Brands’ cigarette sales have already taken a hit.

The company published its results for the half-year to March 31 earlier this week — the number of cigarettes sold fell 6 percent to 126bn compared with a year earlier.

Philip Morris International, the largest tobacco company in the world said it will eventually completely stop selling traditional cigarettes.

The New York-based company has invested more than $3bn in products to replace cigarettes.